Abney And Associates

Caltech researchers have developed a new laser that could send data over the Internet backbone up to 20 times faster.

The breakthrough culminates five years of work by researchers working under Amnon Yariv, professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Caltech. The current study was led by postdoctoral scholar Christos Santis and graduate student Scott Steger.

While laser light is capable of carrying vast amounts of information, it needs to be as spectrally pure, or as close to a single frequency, as possible. The greater the spectral purity, or coherence, the more information the light can carry.

Researchers have worked for decades to develop a laser that comes as close as possible to emitting a single frequency, but today’s global optical-fiber networks are still powered by a laser known as the distributed-feedback semiconductor (S-DFB) laser, which was developed in the mid 1970s in Yariv’s research group...