A new SPIDER for the web

August 22, 2011
This new 'SPIDER chip' is much more efficient than the current technology powering the internet.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A revolutionary new chip that uses little energy and operates at ultrafast speeds for telecommunications and computing is set to replace the power-hungry, expensive and bulky equipment that currently resides at the core of the internet.

Developed by an international team led by University of Sydney physicist Associate Professor David Moss, the chip uses technology called Spectral Phase Interferometry for Direct Electric-Field Reconstruction, or SPIDER.

The internet uses high-speed signals that exploit the coherence of light to transmit information. Until now it has only been possible to accurately measure the intensity and phase of with bulky and expensive laboratory equipment.

"The ability to monitor and characterise these signals has, until now, been restricted to optical laboratories," explains Moss, a 2011 Eureka Prize finalist in the category Innovations in Computer Science.

"Using the SPIDER technology, applications such as telecommunications, high-precision broadband sensing and spectroscopy, metrology, molecular fingerprinting, optical clocks, and even attosecond physics, are all set for a major speed upgrade," he says.

In addition to using the SPIDER technology, the not only integrates with silicon computer chips, it is fabricated using the same methods as , making it ideal for a wide range of applications.

Associate Professor Moss says the 'SPIDER chip' will give all parts of the internet, from long distance fibre-optic networks to silicon routing chips, the ability to measure state-of-the-art signals where the phase of light is used to encode information.

Professor David Moss is a senior researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence CUDOS and the Institute of Photonics and (IPOS) based within the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.

A paper, 'Sub-picosecond phase-sensitive optical pulse characterization on a chip', will be published in in August 2011.

Explore further: Silicon chips to enter world of high speed optical processing

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1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
The upgrade will mostly bypass America since the telecommunications industry knows that it is in it's best interest to keep prices high, and speeds low in order to milk the public maximally and also in order to thwart alternate content providers such as Netflicks from distributing competing content over their network infrastructure.
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
The industry will concern itself with "sunk cost" vs. increased revenue from selling more services. I think they will fall on the side of increasing bandwidth. Additionally, the driving force of Micro$oft (and other personal computer operating system makers) towards CLOUD computing (online storage vs local storage of S/W, Data, etc.) opens the doors to products that prosper in an ever increasing bandwidth environment. This development allows the modulation of light in ways previously reserved for radio waves (such as cable TV/internet/telephone use), and promises the American Telecommunications industry (not to mention Verizon FIOS) greater capability to support new products and services. One that comes to mind is holographic TV. The industries that will suffer from this are: "brick and mortar" facilities such as movie theaters. Other losers might be Co-ax cable companies such as Comcast, and the broadcast industry.
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
By adding phase information they should be able to double the transfer rate, or use QPSK or QAM or other modulations to increase the spectral density. And with the sub picosecond timing there should be bit rates of over 1 terabits per second. However we need rates of 100 to 1000 time higher to get uncompressed holographic video.

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