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Fiber Optic

Corning's Thunderbolt optical cable

Digital systems are notorious for bottlenecks. It’s no good having a blazing, overclocked PC and an internet connection like a firehose if the USB cable between them is like a straw. It’s even worse when the distance between PC and modem is more than a few feet away, so the cable can’t reach. With the aim of eliminating these bottlenecks, Corning Cable Systems LLC is unveiling its Optical Cable by Corning at CES in Las Vegas. These cables replace copper wires with fiber optics to produce cables up to 100 meters (328 ft) long, that are much more durable and achieve speeds of 10 gigabits per second, which is enough to load a full-length HD video in 30 seconds.  Read More

A cross-sectional image of the new silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilitie...

Imagine forgetting to plug in your smartphone, but then not worrying because your clothes could charge it for you. It sounds surreal, but it may one day be reality. An international team of scientists and engineers led by John Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, have developed a silicon-based optical fiber that acts like a solar cell and offers the promise of fabric that can generate electricity from light.  Read More

A smooth muscle cell, trapped between the fiber-optic spanner's two offset optical fibers ...

If you were a scientist looking at a cell with a microscope, what would you do if you wanted get a look at the far side of that cell? You could try reaching in with a very fine-tipped pair of tweezers, but ... you’d probably be better off using something known as a fiber-optic spanner.  Read More

By using twisted beams of light, researchers have achieved data transmission speeds of up ...

Thankfully, data transmission speeds have come a long way since the days of dial-up when users would have plenty of time to twiddle their thumbs as they waited for an image or MP3 to make its way to their hard drive. These days, broadband cable currently supports speeds of around 30 megabits per second, which is a hell of an improvement. Now researchers have outdone that by a factor of around 85,000 by using twisted beams of light to transmit data at up to 2.56 terabits per second.  Read More

Light pulses (white spheres) traveling down the optical fiber can be converted into electr...

When data is transmitted as pulses of light along a fiber optic cable, chips at either end of that cable must convert the data from and back into an electronic signal - this is what allows an outgoing video image to be converted into light pulses, then back into video at the receiving end, for instance. There are a number of technical challenges in coupling chips to fibers, however. Now, an international team of scientists are developing an alternative ... fiber optics with the electronics built right into the fiber.  Read More

Titus Appel (left) and Steve Sanderson, with their power-over-fiber communications cable

When you want to isolate communications between two devices or locations, a fiber optic link is one of the best ways to go. Under some circumstances, however, you might also want to isolate the transmission of power – in situations where traditional copper wire might prove unsafe or impractical, for instance. That’s why researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a power-over-fiber (PoF) communications cable. It carries not only data, but also optical power.  Read More

An international team of researchers has set a world record two-way data rate over long di...

An international team is claiming a data transfer record that puts any home broadband connection to shame. At last month’s SuperComputing 2011 (SC11) conference in Seattle, researchers reached transfer rates of 98 gigabits per second (Gbps) between the University of Victoria Computing Centre located in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Coupled with a simultaneous data rate of 88 Gbps in the opposite direction the team reached a two-way data rate of 186 Gbps to break their own previous peak-rate record of 119 Gbps set in 2009.  Read More

A newly-developed optical amplifier is said to allow fiber optic signals to travel four ti...

As the amount of information being electronically shuttled around the planet continues to grow, so does the need for effective means of relaying it. The use of optical fibers has definitely helped in that regard, although thanks to a recent breakthrough at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, optical fiber signals may soon be able to travel four times farther than they are presently able to. Researchers there have created an optical amplifier, capable of amplifying light while maintaining a relatively noise-free signal.  Read More

A lab prototype of ORNL's Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor (Image: ORNL/...

At long ranges, snipers must compensate not only for crosswinds and the fact that bullets travel in a curved trajectory, but also allow for even very small barrel disruptions that can cause a shooter to miss their intended target by a wide margin. Contending with such difficulties makes feats such as the 1.53 mile (2.47 km) sniper kills by British Corporal Craig Harrison even more impressive, but a new type of rifle sighting system developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) could take one of these variables out of the equation. The fiber-optic laser-based sensor system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and automatically adjusts the crosshairs to match.  Read More

Fujitsu plans to rollout a 1Gbps fiber optic broadband network to service rural areas in B...

Economies of scale mean that densely populated cities have generally been the ones to benefit from the roll out of superfast broadband networks, while those in rural areas have missed out. Following Google's recent announcement that it will build and test 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in selected cities with between 50,000 to 500,000 residents in the U.S. starting with Kansas City, Kansas, Fujitsu has unveiled plans to create a similar superfast FTTH broadband network for five million homes and businesses in rural Britain to bridge the digital divide between city and country.  Read More

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