Engineers’ Data Transfer Rate of 1.84 Pbit/s Is a New Remarkable Feat

Engineers continue to shatter data transmission records, with the fastest data transfer between a laser and a single optical chip system being established at 1.8 petabits per second, as reported by Science Alert. That’s more than the whole internet can handle in a single second.

What Is the Comparison Like

To put this in perspective, the typical broadband download speed in the United States is 167 megabits per second. In order to reach a gigabit, you need 1,000 megabits, while a petabit requires 1 million gigabits.

To put it another way, 1.8 petabits is a lot of data to send in a single second.

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Like Teeth in a Comb

The core of the ultra-fast data transmission system is a tailor-made optical device that can divide the light from a single infrared laser into hundreds of frequencies. Therefore, the configuration is called a frequency comb because the frequencies are separated by predetermined intervals, much like the teeth of a comb.

The massive transmission speeds are made possible since each ‘tooth’ on the frequency comb may deliver its own burst of data. To transmit the same amount of ones and zeros using traditional methods would need about a thousand lasers.

A frequency comb produced by this device has the right qualities for fiber-optical communications, according to nanoscientist Victor Torres Company of Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology.

Its strong optical power and vast bandwidth cover the spectral area of interest for cutting-edge optical communications.

The Experts’ Accomplishments

The researchers accomplished this by slicing the fiber-optic cable into 37 individual core sections, and then each of those sections was further sliced into 223 individual frequency slices, which serve as the comb’s teeth. The ability to send that much data simultaneously was a key factor in obtaining the world record speed.

Modulation is a method that alters the height, intensity, rhythm, and orientations of light waves in order to store the 1s and 0s that make up digital data. The actual data itself was encoded into the light signals using this procedure.

Proof of Concept

Since computers cannot produce or process that much data all at once, this is still merely a proof of concept for the time being. This study employed fictitious ‘dummy’ data to verify that the methodology was acceptable.

Furthermore, other components, such as data encoding devices, must be included in the chip. However, after this is completed, the researchers claim the finished system would be far quicker and need less power than the existing setup.

Electrical engineer Leif Katsuo Oxenlwe from the Technical University of Denmark pointed out that this technology might replace hundreds of thousands of lasers in Internet hubs and data centers.

Using a computational model, the researchers were also able to evaluate the system’s scalability; larger data transfer rates should be conceivable in the future.

Models demonstrate that by dividing and amplifying light frequencies, 100 petabits per second are possible without compromising data integrity.

Getting there will need breakthroughs in other areas of computer and internet infrastructure, but the basic technologies – lasers, optical fiber – are not far off.

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Written by Trisha Kae Andrada

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