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Technology and Health News > Monday, March-16-2009

The fiber optic of the future

The use of an organic material has been put in place a structure capable of transmitting data at rates eight times higher than those of traditional devices .

The study of materials capable of transmitting data at ever higher speeds is the constant challenge of the technology of optical communications. The use of a new organic material, tested by a team of U.S. and European research coordinated by Ivan Biaggi of Lehigh University (United States), has enabled to achieve data transfers much higher than that obtained so far with traditional devices.

The novelty lies in the combination of structures in silicon with organic material, identified by the initials Ddmebt . This is essentially a kind of "nonlinear" device, able to change its molecular structure to the passage of light, making it propagate at high speed. To minimize interference with the passage of data, researchers have vaporized the organic material and the deposit left on the rails of silicon and in the spaces between them. In this way, explain the authors, the molecules are deposited "like snowflakes", forming a highly homogeneous plastic. It is precisely in the interstices between the rails of silicon, filled with new material, that the light passes at high speed, allowing you to transmit data up to 170 Gigabit per second (with the traditional structures, which consist only of silicon, you can reach a maximum speed around 20-30 Gigabit per second). Combining silicon with an architecture was needed to channel and confine the flow of light within very small spaces (the guide of silicon is separated by a few tens of nanometers).

"We have combined the best features of both technologies," said Biaggi, "and we believe that the use of an integrated structure between silicon and organic matter in the future will allow to reach even higher speeds."

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