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Optical Tech Topic of Talks

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SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 2008 -- Getting the most out of limited wireless bandwidth, ratcheting up data rates, new routes on the information superhighway, and a new view of the electromagnetic spectrum are some of the topics that will be covered in research presentations during the technical conference at OFC/NFOEC (the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference), Feb. 24-28 at the San Diego Convention Center.

OFC/NFOEC, the largest international conference on optical communications, will feature the latest research and innovations related to all aspects of optical communications during its five-day comprehensive technical program.

OFC/NFOEC is where experts from industry and academia intersect and share their results, experiences, and insights on the future of electronic and wireless communication and its associated optical technologies with many of the more than 15,000 attendees. OFC and NFOEC present the largest technical conference in optical communications; from research and development of technology to the engineering and implementation of networks, the conference covers it all.

Zhensheng Jia will speak on how the optical networking group he and professor Gee-Kung Chang belong to at the Georgia Institute of Technology is demonstrating how to get the most out of wireless capacity and bandwidth by splitting wireless signals into separate components and then using optical fiber to carry wireless signals to their destination, where they are reintegrated. The long-range linkages are provided by optical fiber, but the last few tens of meters are wireless. The result: Users can communicate wirelessly at a much higher bandwidth over a longer distance than is possible without using a fiber.

In his OFC paper in collaboration with NEC Labs America, Jia will discuss an efficient and flexible method that has been shown via experiments to be able to carry multichannel wireless signals transmitted over 160 km of optical fiber and through 12 straight-line switches.

One year ago at OFC/NFOEC, IBM presented research on a transceiver assembled from low-cost components that is capable of boosting chip-to-chip bandwidth on printed circuit boards (PCBs). This year, IBM's Clint Schow will present research on a next-generation transceiver the company has developed that boosts PCB bandwidth to 300 Gb/s, the fastest rate to date (and nearly twice the bidirectional data rate of IBM's previous-generation transceiver) and a development that will ultimately enable even faster speeds for data transmission in homes and businesses.

The device was produced as part of an ongoing DARPA program at the US Department of Defense to speed up chip-to-chip communications for supercomputers. However, better input/output technology also is related to performance of large-scale computer systems for businesses and demand by individuals for ubiquitous connectivity and on-demand access to content.

Kenji Kurokawa and his colleagues at NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories in Ibaraki, Japan, are investigating optical communication in the 1-µm band, introducing a new channel for communications and opening up a new "road" on the information superhighway for data transmission. They are exploring high-capacity, wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) transmission in photonic crystal fiber. In WDM transmission, multiple optical signals are multiplexed on a single optical fiber by using different colors or wavelengths of light to carry different signals. Photonic crystal fibers offer a theoretical endless communication wavelength region, which can enable ultrahigh capacity transmission.

In his OFC/NFOEC presentation, Kurokawa will describe the first WDM transmission experiment using a broadband continuum light source in the 1-µm band. He will discuss the possibility of terabit optical communication in the new band and its potential impact on optical communication.

Bernd Sartorius, PhD, of the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute for Telecommunications in Berlin will present a new view of the electromagnetic spectrum by exploring the use of the terahertz band -- relatively unexplored and unexploited because its frequency range is too high for conventional electronics and too small for semiconductor lasers and detectors -- for applications in security, medicine, and materials science.

Terahertz radiation, unlike other scanning technologies, can penetrate materials like paper, clothing and plastics and remain harmless to humans. So terahertz spectra can indicate explosives or analyze complex pharmaceutical substances where today's technologies, such as x-rays, cannot. However, terahertz systems are impractical because they require expensive lasers, liquid helium-cooled detectors, and bulky optical benches that make field work unfeasible. Sartorius will examine the state of the art for terahertz instrumentation, stressing especially new ways that telecom technology can make terahertz systems low cost, flexible, and easily transported.

Technical presentations will also be made on topics such as the fastest field test for video streaming, low-cost silicon-based photodetectors, on-chip microresonators, and optical buffers, among others.

OFC/NFOEC will also include plenary presentations, poster sessions, workshops, short courses, the Future Internet Symposium, the three-day presentation and panel discussion series Market Watch and a two-day exposition of the products and technologies of more than 500 companies (See also: Networking Issues Top Agenda).

OFC/NFOEC is managed by the Optical Society of America (OSA) and co-sponsored by OSA, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Communications Society (IEEE/ComSoc) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (IEEE/LEOS).

For more information, visit:


Visit at OFC/NFOEC Feb. 26-28 at Booth 3700
Feb 2008
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
optical communications
The transmission and reception of information by optical devices and sensors.
photonic crystal
See optical spectrum; visible spectrum.
An instrument or system capable of both transmitting and receiving a signal.
bandwidthBasic ScienceCommunicationsconferencedatadefensefiber opticsIBMIEEE/LEOSIndustry Eventsinformation superhighwaymicroresonatornetworkingOFC/NFOECopticalOptical buffersoptical communicationsphotodetectorsphotonic crystalResearch & TechnologySartoriusSensors & DetectorsspectrumterahertztransceivertransmissionVCSELsWDMwireless

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