"The level of data traffic in the world is going up very, very fast," said Bowers, co-author of a paper on the new technology in the journal Optica. Generally speaking, he explained, the transmission and data capacity of state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure must double roughly every two years to sustain high levels of performance. That means that even now, technology companies such as Intel and Cisco have to set their sights on the hardware of 2024 and beyond to stay competitive.
Enter the Bowers Group's high-channel-count, 20 gigahertz, passively mode-locked quantum dot laser, directly grown -- for the first time, to the group's knowledge -- on a silicon substrate. With a proven 4.1 terabit-per-second transmission capacity, it leaps an estimated full decade ahead from today's best commercial standard for data transmission, which is currently reaching for 400 gigabits per second on Ethernet.
Technology - Candidate - Technique - Wavelength-division-multiplexing - WDM
The technology is the latest high-performance candidate in an established technique called wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM), which transmits numerous parallel signals over a single optical fiber using different wavelengths (colors). It has made possible the streaming and rapid data transfer we have come to rely on for our communications, entertainment and commerce.
The Bowers Group's new technology takes advantage of several advances in telecommunications, photonics and materials with its quantum dot laser -- a tiny, micron-sized light source -- that can emit a broad range of light wavelengths over which data can be transmitted.
Wavelengths - Cheap - Light - Source - Songtao
"We want more coherent wavelengths generated in one cheap light source," said Songtao Liu, a postdoctoral researcher in the Bowers Group and lead author of the paper. "Quantum dots can offer you wide gain spectrum, and that's why we can achieve a lot of channels." Their quantum dot laser produces 64 channels, spaced at 20 GHz, and can be utilized as a transmitter to boost the system capacity.
The laser is passively...
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