In order to cram more data down a single optical fibre the information is split into different frequencies of light that can be transmitted in parallel. Kumari says the current infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand as internet consumption increases significantly. What this means is that, if your application requires many different colours at once, you need many lasers. All of them cost money and consume energy. The idea of these new frequency combs is that you launch one colour into the microresonator a whole range of new colours comes out," Dr.
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Kumari says. Schwefel, "It replaces a whole rack of lasers with small energy efficient device. He expects the devices to be incorporated in sub-oceanic landing stations where all the information from land based fibres is crammed into the few sub-oceanic fibres available in less than a decade, perhaps within a few years. Schwefel explains. This breakthrough is the first milestone in a government funded collaboration between scientists at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland who are part of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Quantum and Photonic Technologies—a virtual organisation gathering New Zealand's top researchers working in the fields of light and quantum science.
The research project has been awarded nearly one million dollars of Marsden Fund money to develop and test the potential of microresonator frequency combs. The optical frequency combs are based on a very unusual optical effect that happens when the intensity of light builds up to extremely high levels.
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You send a single colour of visible light into the crystal disc along with a microwave signal and because the crystal disc is such high quality, the light and microwave radiation gets trapped inside. The light and microwave radiation keeps pouring in and bouncing around and around inside the crystal.
In most situations light never changes colour but in this case the intensity becomes so high that the light and the microwave radiation start merging and making different colours. The phenomenon is known as a non-linear effect and it has taken the team many years to optimise. The only other group in the world making devices of competing quality is a collaboration from Harvard and Stanford Universities in the US, also published in this month's Nature , but currently Drs Schwefel and Kumari hold the record for the most efficient device.
Essentially this means that their crystals don't leak any light. The trick is to have an extremely high quality crystal. Harald's group are a world experts in crafting crystal discs in his University of Otago lab.
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The internet is just one of the possible applications for the new optical frequency combs. Another use is high-precision spectroscopy—using laser light to study and identify the chemical composition, properties and structure of materials including diseases, explosives and chemicals.
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Kumari's next mission will be to explore this application amongst other possibilities. You can use them for vibrational spectroscopy, distance measurement, telecommunications. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can use ours. More from Other Physics Topics. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. Your opinions are important to us. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence.
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Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. With the Internet, people can stay in touch with friends and family regardless of time and location. This helps foster intimacy and togetherness in an increasingly spread-out, mobile world. On the flipside, it also creates more opportunities for strangers to meet because of common interests, and for new friendships and other relationships to develop between random acquaintances. With the Internet ordinary people have more power to grow their networks of contacts and thereby expand their reach.
The Internet hasn't destroyed these constraints, but it has diminished their relevance by allowing people to participate together in the same virtual arena. Thanks to the Web, people can connect with each other from virtually anywhere in the world that has Internet access. The result has been a mixing of traditional cultures as like-minded people seek each other out online. Subsequently, interest-based cultures have become much stronger. This helps isolated people find communities and expand their horizons.
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