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Light slowed with sound in photonic chip breakthrough

George Nott | Sept. 20, 2017
Researchers turn light waves into readable sound waves and back again, advancing the development of photonic chips.

While research in recent years has greatly increased the storage time of photon in sound vibrations, and maintained coherence when translating it back, there had been limitations.

To be useful the ‘buffer’ needs at least a gigahertz bandwidth, to harness multiple wavelength channels to increase capacity, and be able to be integrated onto a chip.

Those limitations have been overcome with the Sydney researchers demonstration, and what’s more the method works at room temperature and can easily connect with other microchip components.

“Our system is not limited to a narrow bandwidth. So unlike previous systems this allows us to store and retrieve information at multiple wavelengths simultaneously, vastly increasing the efficiency of the device,” Stiller said.

This century has been dubbed ‘the century of nanophotonics’ (photonics and nanotechnology). The associated technologies have uses in communications networks, improving radar technology, diagnosing disease, and reducing energy consumption in devices and data centres.

“This is an important step forward in the field of optical information processing as this concept fulfils all requirements for current and future generation optical communication systems,” said Professor Benjamin Eggleton, CUDOS director and co-author.


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