ETH researchers have built an ultrafast chip that can speed up data transmission in fibre optic networks. The chip combines several innovations at the same time and, given the growing demand for streaming and online services, represents a significant development.
Researchers from ETH Zurich have achieved what scientists have been attempting to do for some 20 years: in their laboratory work as part of European Horizon 2020 research projects, they have manufactured a chip on which fast electronic signals can be converted directly into ultrafast light signals – with practically no loss of signal quality. This represents a significant breakthrough in terms of the efficiency of optical communication infrastructures that use light to transmit data, such as fibre optic networks.
In cities like Zurich, these fibre optic networks are already being used to deliver high-speed internet, digital telephony, TV, and network-based video or audio services (“streaming”). However, by the end of this decade, even these optical communication networks may reach their limits when it comes to rapid data transmission.
Source: “A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light”, Florian Meyer, Zurich ETH News