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Record 1.84 Petabit/s Data Transfer Achieved With Photonic Chip, Fiber Optic Cable

Scientists at Copenhagen’s Technical University of Denmark have achieved a data transfer rate of 1.84 petabits per second using a single photonic chip connected via a single fiber optic cable. The feat was achieved at a distance of 7.9 km (4.9 miles). Several aspects of this achievement estimate that the average Internet bandwidth used by the global population at any given time of day is about 1 petabit/second.

As the amount of data transferred over the Internet for business, entertainment, and software downloads and updates continues to grow, infrastructure companies are constantly looking for new ways to increase available bandwidth. So 1.84 petabits/sec over standard optical cable using a compact single-chip solution is very attractive.

Photonic chip technology has great potential for optical data transfer purposes, as both the processor and the transfer medium operate on light scientist (opens in new tab) Danish scientists, led by Asbjørn Arvad Jørgensen, briefly describe how to provide such bandwidth with the resources at hand.

Communication system modeled (Image credit: Technical University of Denmark)

First, the data stream used in the test was split into 37 lines, each sent to a different optical thread within the cable. Each of the 37 data lines was divided into 223 data chunks corresponding to zones of the optical spectrum. This allowed us to create a “frequency comb” where data was sent in different colors at the same time without interfering with other streams. In other words, a “massively parallel space/wavelength multiplexed data transmission” system was born. Of course, this splitting and re-splitting greatly increased the potential data throughput supported by fiber optic cables.

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