New Technology – May 2016

light beamsThe following are some new breakthroughs that might eventually benefit our industry:

Better Long-haul Fiber. Researchers at the Moscow University of Physic and Technology, ITMO University of St. Petersburg, and the Australian National University have demonstrated a new technology that can drastically increase the efficiency of long-haul fiber.

They have found that introducing silicon nanoparticles into a fiber optics path can increase what is called the Raman effect. The Raman effect is where light interacts with some materials to produce wavelengths of different colors. In these materials the light causes the affected molecules to increase in energy, and at the higher energy level the materials then re-emit a photon that has a lower energy level than the original light stream.

Today’s lasers use metallic particles to induce the desired color of wavelength but the silicon nanoparticles generate light nearly 100 times stronger than the technology used today. While it will take a while to go from lab to production, this has a huge potential for the efficiency and the distance between repeaters on long-haul fibers.

A New Form of Light. Scientists at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland have been able to produce a new kind of light.  Physics has viewed the properties of light as a fixed constant. This was based upon the angular momentum of photons and Planck’s constant. But the scientists have been able to produce a form of light with an angular momentum that is half the value of Planck’s constant.

Scientists have long theorized that different fractional angular momentum is possible but this is the first time it’s been produced. The first potential use for this new form of light is with fiber optics transmissions. This new kind of light looks to have properties that would allow for the transmission of significantly more bits of data than with normal light.

Faster G.Fast. Israeli chip-maker Sckipio has developed a G.Fast chipset that will double the effective speed of G.Fast. The chip can support symmetrical throughput speeds of 750 Mbps. Sckipio says that they already have another chip set on the drawing board that might double that speed to about 1.5 Gbps.

Their chipset is the first G.Fast design to have fast speeds in both directions and provides greater overall data throughput. While the only trial of G.Fast in the country that I’ve heard about is being done by CenturyLink, it’s been reported that AT&T is thinking about adopting the technology. The company has made numerous announcements about expanding their U-verse product to millions of homes and G.Fast is basically a fiber-to-the curb product that would let them string fiber in neighborhoods but use the existing copper network to bring the bandwidth into the home.

New Data Storage Technology. IBM Research announced the first successful trial of storing data using phase-change memory (PCM). This technology can store 3-bits of data instead of just one.  There are many advantages of PCM storage – it retains memory without power, it allows for faster read / write and it can be overwritten over 10 million times (compared to flash drives which wear out after around 3,000 write cycles).

IBM sees PCM being used in conjunction with flash storage to allow for very fast launching of devices like cell-phones and computers. It would also allow for much faster inquiries, speeding up computer processing speeds on any device.


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