13 Feb New Dual Core Optical Fiber Enhances Fiber Optic Communication
Thanks to Einstein, we know that information can only travel as fast as the speed of light. So, it makes sense that the fastest way to get data from one point to another is to use light. In fact, the backbone of the Internet is fiber optic cables lying deep underneath the ocean. Light travels across the ocean through these fiber optic cables until it reaches the coast, where it then enters a landing station that transmits the flashes of light received.
However, for all their speedy efficiency, fiber optic cables connect to sluggish signal switches, routers, and buffers to transmit the data. Therefore, in an effort to replace these sluggish routers and switches, a team of researchers developed a new, dual-core optical fiber that can elegantly perform the same functions by simply applying a very small amount of mechanical pressure.
These new nanomechanical fibers have two optical cores within the cable that actually carry the light signals. Even if they do not touch, the light in one can affect the light in the other by applying just enough pressure to move the cores. These effects can include slowing the light down, creating an in-line buffer, and even enabling a signal to jump from one core to another, like a router or switch.
The next step of the team’s research is to test the fibers at longer lengths and to enhance the precision with which they perform switching and other functions. This dual-core cable has the potential to not only affect the telecommunications industry, but may also prove effective in industrial systems.
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