Data Transmission At Sub-Picosecond Speeds

Researchers have developed the next generation of ultrafast data transmission that may make it possible to make already high-performance computing “on demand.” The technology unjams bottlenecks in data streams using a hybrid silicon-vanadium dioxide waveguide that can turn light on and off in less than one trillionth of a second.

The researchers demonstrate that it may be possible to achieve data transmission at rates exceeding one terabit per second on a single channel. They created a hybrid silicon chip by including a small amount of vanadium dioxide—an ultrafast‐switching phase‐change material—to extend the capabilities of silicon photonics.

Light pulses were injected into a silicon waveguide were selectively turned off when another light pulse struck the vanadium dioxide. The remarkable speed with which the light pulses were turned off and then came back on is a consequence of the material properties of vanadium dioxide and the time duration in which the two laser pulses interact in the vanadium dioxide.

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