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Short, on-chip light pulses will enable ultrafast data transfer within computers
Date:11/24/2010

ispersive element offers a much needed component to the on-chip nanophotonics tool kit.

The pulse compressor works in two steps. In step one, the spectrum of incoming laser light is broadened. For example, if green laser light were the input, the output would be red, green and blue laser light. In step two, the new integrated dispersive element developed by the electrical engineers manipulates the light so each spectrum in the pulse is travelling at the same speed. This speed synchronization is where pulse compression occurs.

Imagine the laser light as a series of cars. Looking down from above, the cars are initially in a long caravan. This is analogous to a long pulse of laser light. After stage one of pulse compression, the cars are no longer in a single line and they are moving at different speeds. Next, the cars move through the new dispersive grating where some cars are sped up and others are slowed down until each car is moving at the same speed. Viewed from above, the cars are all lined up and pass the finish line at the same moment.

This example illustrates how the on-chip pulse compressor transforms a long pulse of light into a spectrally broader and temporally shorter pulse of light. This temporally compressed pulse will enable multiplexing of data to achieve much higher data speeds.

"In communications, there is this technique called optical time division multiplexing or OTDM, where different signals are interleaved in time to produce a single data stream with higher data rates, on the order of terabytes per second. We've created a compression component that is essential for OTDM," said Tan.

The UC San Diego electrical engineers say they are the first to report a pulse compressor on a CMOS-compatible integrated platform that is strong enough for OTDM.

"In the future, this work will enable integrating multiple 'slow' bandwidth channels with pulse compression into a single ultra-high-bandwidth OTDM ch
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Contact: Daniel Kane
dbkane@ucsd.edu
858-534-3262
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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