Hughesair (Inflection Point)

Retired physician and air taxi operator, science writer and part time assistant professor, these editorials cover a wide range of topics. Mostly non political, mostly true, I write more from experience than from research and more from science than convention. Subjects cover medicine, Alaska aviation, economics, technology and an occasional book review. The Floatplane book is out there. I am currently working on Hippocrates a History of Medicine and Globalism. Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

640-Gbit/s optical switch

APPLIED PHYSICS: Raising Online Speed Limits
From the editors of Science, but don't hold your breath. The phone companies sit on dark fiber like the Russians withhold natural gas for economic and political gain --- and intimidation.
Ian S. Osborne
The appetite for faster and faster Internet connections with greater and greater information-transfer capacity continues unabated. With the likes of high-definition television, music and video streaming, and social networks all contributing to a 60% annual growth in Internet traffic, the increasing demand for information capacity is putting strain on present information-handling capabilities. In order to avoid a worldwide-wait scenario reminiscent of the dial-up era, optical engineers are developing information-processing technologies aimed at terabit-per-second capabilities, which will be able to pump data through optical fibers straight to the home. Galilei et al. have developed an optical switch that heads toward this goal. The authors present a chalcogenide glass chip, exploiting the material's nonlinear property of four-wave mixing to produce an all-optical switch that can demodulate a 640-Gbit/s optical signal into a series of 10-Gbit/s tributaries. The demonstration of such high-speed and error-free signal processing indicates that Internet starvation might be staved off, at least for the time being. -- ISO
Opt. Express 17, 2182 (2009).

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