Molecules of light pulses

October 12, 2005

Corrected [contrubuted by Prof. Dr. Fedor Mitschke]: Researchers at the University of Rostock in Germany have made the world's first molecules of light pulses, which might allow a significant increase in the data transfer rate of fiber optical systems. The molecules are built of temporal solitons, pulses of light that do not dissipate or easily lose their shape like most other types of pulses. Solitons are useful for transmitting information because the signals can travel over long distances without degrading.

Solitons are waves that can have characteristics similar to material particles, like electrons and billiard balls. Although molecules made from spatial solitons have been demonstrated before, the researchers claim that this is the first time anyone has made temporal solitons stick together to form structures analogous to molecules.

Fiber optical systems transmit information by sending light signals through a fiber as a combination of zeros (dark) and ones (light). The data transfer rate for binary coding is fast approaching its fundamental limits, but it may be possible to bypass the limit by transmitting information as zeros, ones, and twos with soliton molecules representing the number two.

The Rostock scientists propose that using soliton molecules as the "two" in information coding could take telecommunications technology to the next level without expensive infrastructure upgrades. They also believe that it may eventually be possible to represent higher numbers with molecules comprised of more complex groups of solitons.

M. Stratmann, T. Pagel, and F. Mitschke
Physical Review Letters
link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v95/e143902

Source: American Physical Society

Explore further: Solitons could power molecular electronics, artificial muscles

Related Stories

Finding the right soliton for future networks

May 14, 2008

European researchers say their study of self-sustaining solitary light wave packets could result in a new generation of computers and optical telecommunications networks. Using light rather than electronic or magnetic devices ...

The topolariton, a new half-matter, half-light particle

October 7, 2015

A new type of "quasiparticle" theorized by Caltech's Gil Refael, a professor of theoretical physics and condensed matter theory, could help improve the efficiency of a wide range of photonic devices—technologies, such as ...

Recommended for you

Particles self-assemble into Archimedean tilings

December 8, 2016

(Phys.org)—For the first time, researchers have simulated particles that can spontaneously self-assemble into networks that form geometrical arrangements called Archimedean tilings. The key to realizing these structures ...

Protein disrupts infectious biofilms

December 8, 2016

Many infectious pathogens are difficult to treat because they develop into biofilms, layers of metabolically active but slowly growing bacteria embedded in a protective layer of slime, which are inherently more resistant ...

Electron highway inside crystal

December 8, 2016

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.