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French Researchers Model Solitons

Photonics Spectra
Aug 1997
With rapidly increasing transmis-sion speeds in fiber optic networks, problems such as chromatic dispersion have distorted optical signals. Bernard Michaux, a research engineer at the Burgundy Laboratory of Computing, Electronics, Signals and Images in France, found a new way to limit the distortion. Michaux used short pulses of light called solitons that propagate the whole length of an optical fiber without distortion. He devised a mechanical model that simulated the propagation of this kind of wave by developing a line of small mechanical cells, each consisting of a pendulum. A single wave travels through the simulator, reflects off the back wall and returns unaltered by interference. Soliton waves also have the ability to pass through each other without undergoing any change.


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