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An Answer to The Bandwidth Dilemma?

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2018

Mike WheelerArtificial intelligence. Data analytics. Machine Learning. IoT.

These megatrends are transforming how we live. And thanks to better fiber, smaller cables and more efficient transceivers, the industry has been able to keep pace with the increasing amount of data flowing through the global fiber optic infrastructure. But these improvements may not be enough.

We’re “now approaching fundamental limits in the information-carrying capacity of optical fiber,” according to OFS’ David DiGiovanni, who serves as guest commentator in this month’s special section. Breakthrough advances in optical hardware are needed, as are big improvements in integration. Everything, he says, “has to become smaller and cheaper and use less power.” See “Fiber Optics at the Core of Connectivity” of this month’s special section (read article).

In the interim, the emergence of ultralow-loss, large effective area fiber is helping address bandwidth challenges, as are more sophisticated encoding schemes capable of increasing the amount of data that can be transmitted. Read this month’s cover story, “Getting More Out of Telecom Fiber,” from Contributing Editor Hank Hogan (read article).

Web Editor Robin Riley explores the role of dark fiber in predicting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater and changes in permafrost in “Fiber Optic Cables Find Use as Seismic Sensors,” part of this month’s special section (read article).

Elsewhere in the magazine:

• There’s much ado about UAVs as a host for spectral imagers, thermal sensors and lidar. But integrating these technologies to work in tandem is a science unto itself. Don’t miss “Sensor Balancing Act for UAVs,” (read article).

• Aspheres are found in head-mounted displays and automobile cameras, and their increasing use in harsh environments requires tighter specifications and tolerances. That’s prompted metrology suppliers to devise evermore ingenious ways to measure them. Contributing Editor Marie Freebody’s “Innovations in Lens Measurement” (read article).

• One of the most dynamic areas in femtosecond lasers is ytterbium fiber amplifiers. New milestones in power and speed are translating to breakthroughs in multiphoton imaging in neuroscience and cutting OLEDs on glass substrates. “Ytterbium Fiber Amplifiers Set the Mark for Speed and Power” (read article).

• When it comes to determining crystallinity, molecular orientation, stress and strain, FTIR spectroscopy is a particularly useful tool. But the diffraction limit has inhibited assessing material properties on the nanoscale. A variation of the technique — nano-FTIR — overcomes this limitation. Read “Nano-FTIR Spectroscopy Reveals Material’s True Nature,” from Toptica and Neaspec (read article).

Enjoy the issue!

EditorialMike Wheeler

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