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European light research opens door for optical storage and computing
Date:4/24/2008

hat they can be buffered within a small area, and can be achieved by exploiting fast and slow light effects. Before the arrival of true photonic computing, there is the more immediate prospect of building optical interconnects for example in communication networks, which would reduce latency, the time taken for signals to travel from source to destination. Latency imposed by the communications network has become a significant problem in an age of globalisation where computers in different continents are cooperating in tasks that need to be executed very quickly in fractions of a second.

Another more immediate application of fast and slow light is likely to come from the ability in processing ultrawide band microwave signals, for radio communications, both for mobile telephony and wireless LANs. Fast and slow light can be harnessed to transmit radio frequencies directly over fibre, making it easier, cheaper, and more efficient to connect up base stations or wireless access points. Radio over fiber is an existing application field destined to grow in the near future, said Santagiustina. This field will also represent a significant step forward for the photonic/electronic convergence. In that area the time-delay/phase-shift provided by slow and fast light devices can yield unprecedented functions.

Some of these functions have not yet been conceived, but the fundamental point is that converging photonics with electronics reduces delays and increases the bandwidth available, cutting costs and boosting communications capacity.


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Contact: Marco Santagiustina
marco.santagiustina@unipd.it
39-049-827-7717
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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