Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OFS Laboratories Develops Optical Resonator

Researchers from OFS Laboratories have developed a way to manufacture long chains of microresonators by making nanoscale changes to the diameter of normal optical fiber. The breakthrough may pave the way for storing light as memory. The work is described in the Optical Society’s (OSA) journal Optics Letters.

"Optical computers, which use light particles—photons—in place of electrons to process and store information, have the potential to be much faster than today’s electronic computers," said Misha Sumetsky, a researcher at OFS Laboratories and lead author on the study. "Unfortunately, manufacturing microresonators that meet the demands of optical computing has been a long and, until now, unsuccessful pursuit."

Sumetsky and his colleagues at OFS Laboratories, formerly part of the famous Bell Labs, used the silica strand of optical fiber to create the microresonator instead of conventional lithography on silicon wafers. The technique varies the optical fiber diameter by several nanometers, forcing light traveling along the surface of the fiber to turn around and head back the way it came. If it were traveling between two narrowed portions of fiber, the light would continue to resonate back and forth with very little loss of signal. This is, in fact, the microresonator. The process of modifying a fiber to have these characteristics is termed Surface Nanoscale Axial Photonics (SNAP). http://www.ofsoptics.com http://www.OpticsInfoBase.org/OL


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