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Boffins breaks data transmission record • Record

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European scientists claim to achieve a data transmission rate of 1.8 petabits per second, all with a single laser and an optical chip.

For those who aren’t sure, 1.8Pbit/s is too much. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) said in a statement that it is more than the total volume of global internet traffic sent every second.

The team relies on the characteristics of the frequency comb created on its chip for this invention, although it was not designed for this purpose.

This is not the first time a frequency comb has been used to help improve the transmission of optical information over a fiber. A group of researchers from the University of California at San Diego using the technique to avoid degradation set a particularly long record for data transmission in 2015.

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The “teeth” of the comb are mounted at fixed frequency distances from its neighbors, creating a rainbow of colors when hit with infrared laser light, DTU said. Each color corresponds to a different frequency, each of which can be isolated, used to print data, recombined and transmitted via an optical fiber.

Victor Torres-Company, professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the project’s research leader, said the characteristics of the frequency comb produced on a silicon nitride chip he developed make it suitable for use in fiber optic communications, although “some characteristic parameters were obtained by chance, not by design.” ”

Torres-Company said his team has since reverse-engineered the process to optimize fiber optic applications with “high repeatability.” It’s never been mentioned what the chip was originally for, but the paper’s descriptions state that Torres-Company and another researcher co-founded a startup offering silicon nitride prototyping services, so it could have come from any number of other projects.

The team claims that in this case the transmission managed to reach 1.84Pbps over 7.9km (4.9 miles) fiber lines. The previous internet speed record set in Japan last year reached 319 Tbps, less than a third of the speed of the DTU experiment.

In the Japanese project, the group used existing infrastructure and a process called wavelength division multiplexing to acquire data at multiple wavelengths transmitted over a single piece of fiber.

The European team also can’t touch the transmission distance of the Japanese experiment, which sent 319 Tbps data streams over 3,001km (1,864 miles), but amplification stations are installed every 70km to boost the signal.

DTU Professor Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, who worked on the experiment, said the comb method still has a few things going, but like the fact that 1.8Pbps is only a fraction of the system’s potential according to modeling simulations.

“Our calculations show that we can transmit up to 100 Pbps with a single chip and a single laser made by Chalmers University of Technology,” Oxenløwe said. Said. Oxenløwe said the DTU solution is easily scaled up by both creating additional frequencies and adding additional copies of the comb to be used as parallel data sources.

In addition to the enormous scalability, Oxenløwe said, “the system could drastically reduce the energy footprint of the internet, as only a single laser would be needed to replace the hundreds of thousands of lasers found in internet centers and data centers, which generates power and heat.”

“We have an opportunity to contribute to achieving an internet that leaves a smaller climate footprint,” Oxenløwe said, although he also acknowledged that the team had work ahead before a similar system could be used in the real world.

The team is trying to integrate components with the optical chip to make the entire system more efficient, but didn’t specify anything beyond that. We’ve reached out to the team to find out a little more about when we can expect that bandwidth specifically at home, and we’ll update this story if we hear back. ®

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