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Crystals Hold Secret to Cracking the Optical Transmission Barrier
Written by Gizmo   
Saturday, 24 November 2007 00:40


BASF, as the commercial says, is a name you might not know, but the company has worked on improving just about everything from surf boards to biodegradable plastics. The company is now looking to put its impressive research and development powers to work on a project that may not necessarily revolutionize optical transmission, but will sure do a heck of a lot of good for it.

Read the full story at DailyTech:

NewTon, as the project is named, is a joint collaboration between BASF and several other research groups. The aim of the project is develop a functional three dimensional photonic crystal.

The major slowdown in telecommunications currently isn't the transport materials, which are largely optical fiber, but in the processing nodes where information is routed. There is presently no inexpensive and efficient means of making the entire process optical, and the signals must be converted to electrical so the routing hardware can deal with it.

While the speed of light is the speed of light, and electricity generally obeys the speed limit, the advantage to optical transmission is that one fiber can contain much more information than a strand of copper. This is done in the form of varying wavelengths. The idea behind NewTon is to make photonic crystals that can separate these different colors from the white light and route them in a generally productive and accurate manner while being cost efficient to produce.

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