Fiber optics may replace semiconductors

May 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, May 5 (UPI) -- Israeli scientists say they have developed a nanotechnology that can enable fiber optics to replace semiconductors in communications.

Tel Aviv University researchers led by Koby Scheuer of the university's NanoPhotonics Laboratory said the newly developed technology can make computers operate hundreds of times faster. He said the communications technology "enabler" might be in use within five to 10 years and can also result in smaller, more flexible and more powerful devices.

"Once Americans have a fiber optics cable coming into every home, all communication will go through it -- telephone, cable TV (and) the Internet. But to avoid bottlenecks of information, we need to separate the information coming through into different channels. Our polymeric devices can do that in the optical domain -- at a speed, quality and cost that the semiconductor industry can't even imagine," Scheuer said.

"Right now, we could transmit all of the written text of the world though a single fiber in a fiber optics cable in just a few seconds," he added. "But in order to handle these massive amounts of communication data, we need filters to make sense of the incoming information. Ours uses a plastic-based switch, replacing hard-to-fabricate and expensive semiconductors."

The research is detailed in the online journal Optics Express.

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