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An optical traffic cop for rapid communication
Date:5/3/2010

It looks like a piece of gel that slips into the sole of your sneaker, but it's a new nano-based technology that can make computers and the Internet hundreds of times faster ― a communications technology "enabler" that may be in use only five or ten years in the future, currently being created by Dr. Koby Scheuer of Tel Aviv University's School of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Scheuer has developed a new plastic-based technology for the nano-photonics market, which manufactures optical devices and components. Reported in the journal Optics Express, his plastic-based "filter" is made from nanometer-sized grooves embedded into the plastic. When used in fiber optics cable switches, this new device will make our communication devices smaller, more flexible and more powerful, he says.

"Once Americans have a fiber optics cable coming into every home, all communication will go through it telephone, cable TV, the Internet. But to avoid bottlenecks of information, we need to separate the information coming through into different channels. Our polymeric devices can do that in the optical domain ― at a speed, quality and cost that the semi-conductor industry can't even imagine," Dr. Scheuer says.

Filtering the noise from the information

Every optical device used in today's communication tools has a filter. Whether it's the drive reader in your MacBook or the cable that brings cheap long-distance phone calls to your phone, each system uses filters to clean up the signal and interpret the different messages. In the next decade, fiber optic cables that now run from city to city will feed directly into every individual home. When that technology comes to light, the new plastic-based switches could revolutionize the way we communicate.

"Right now, we could transmit all of the written text of the world though a single fiber in a fiber optics cable in just a few seconds," says Dr. Scheuer. "But in order to
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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