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  • Holey Fibers, Digital Polymer Switches and the Future of the Internet
Mar 2001
ANAHEIM, Calif., March 19 – As the demand for faster information grows so does the attendance at the annual Optical Fiber Communications Conference. The telecommunications industry knows that there are still significant advances to be made in the field of fiber optics, and that the final form of this amazing technology has yet to be determined. OFC is the place where many of these breakthroughs first get announced and demonstrated.
   One of the topics that this year's meeting will address is the Supernet, which has components capable of data transmission at gigabits per second thousands of times faster than current Internet data rates. An overview of the research and technology needed for building the Supernet will take place in session TuK1 (March 20, 1:30).
   Another exciting topic at OFC 2001 is the holey fiber, which is a new optical fiber design that could not only broaden the applications of optical fibers, but of light itself, according to a press release by the organizers at the Optical Society of America, one of the many sponsors of OFC 2001. Philip Russell of the University of Bath, who announced the first working holey optical fiber at a post deadline session several years ago, will present a tutorial on this topic. He will describe how the fibers have enabled his lab and Lucent Technologies to develop a powerful "white light laser," which is a light source with the brightness of a laser, but with the bandwidth of white light. Anders Bjarklev of the Technical University of Denmark will review recent advances in research and development of these fibers (Tutorial TuL1, March 20, 1:30-3:30).
   Another technology that will be discussed at this year's meeting is an improved digital polymer switch – a fully organic, polymer version of optical components. Ulrich Siebel from the University of Berlin and his colleagues have designed a polymer digital switch for relaying signals to different parts of a telecommunications network (Talk WR4, March 21, 2:45).
   Ben Stein, James, Riordon Schewe and Rory McGee of the American Institute of Physics provided the details for these events in cooperation with the Optical Society of America and the respective speakers.

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