Optical Networking, Redefined.
January 24, 2017

New Amplifier Technology and its Impact on Transmission Integrity

Photonics researchers have recently developed new amplifier technologies to be used within optical interconnects. The new amplifier is extremely compact with a high gain amplification, and will work with transceivers and fiber optic networks to increase the power of light transmission before depletion due to optical losses.

This development has the potential to replace large and expensive amplifiers that are currently used to study attosecond scent and ultrafast optical information processing. The research was completed through science researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MT) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The details of their findings were disclosed in Nature Communications on January 4, 2017.

According to SUTD Asst. Professor Dawn Tan, the optical amplifier was developed and “…able to amplify light by 17,000 times at the telecommunications wavelength.” She also credited the use of a proprietary platform known as “ultra-silicon-rich nitride” as a paramount factor in the success of the project.

The new amplifier achieves high amplification within its compact element. This is the result of designing and implementing an amplifier which works simultaneously with both high photon efficiency and high nonlinearity. Other platforms of this type historically have had issues of compatibility with these factors.

“The results demonstrate the ultra-silicon-rich nitride platform to be extremely promising for highly efficient nonlinear optics applications, particularly in the field of CMOS photonics leveraging existing electronics infrastructure,” according to Dr. Doris Ng, of the A*STAR Data Storage Institute.

This new platform is expected to enable lowered cost broadband spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging and precision manufacturing.