Smaller, faster, more efficient: BASF research scientists are helping to revolutionize the future world of telecommunications with the aid of three-dimensional photonic crystals. In a three-year project, BASF is researching into the development of these crystals together with partners such as Hanover Laser Center, Thales Aerospace Division, Photon Design Ltd., the Technical University of Denmark and the Ecole Nationale Suprieure des Tlcommunications de Bretagne. By the end of 2008, the partners in the "NewTon" project expect to have developed the first functional components of this new technology. The long-term goal is to use three-dimensional photonic crystals as construction elements in telecommunication. Half of the project is being funded by the European Union.
Many times more information can be transmitted by light in the same time as has so far been possible with electricity. This is why telephone conversations, websites, photographs or music, for example, are now increasingly being transmitted in optical fibers. At present, however, this technology still has one drawback at the "network nodes". Indeed, at these nodes the routing of the information to the end-user is still done electrically, because no competitive, compact all-optical routing processor is yet available. This costs time and energy.
This is where the research activities of BASF and its partners come into the picture. They are developing a photonic crystal capable of reflecting only single colors of the white light depending on the observation angle. This phenomenon is known from nature: the splendid, shimmering colors on butterfly wings derive from the properties of photonic crystals.
"A structured three-dimensional photonic crystal could be the key component for a compact optical semiconductor or even for an all-optical routing processor", is the opinion of Dr. Reinhold J. Leyrer who is BASFs project leader in Polymer Research division. "Converting optical si
|Contact: Melanie Steigelmann|