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Next generation fibre cables could be in the air

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Update time : 2020-12-10 17:16:52

A new study from a team of researchers from the University of Southampton has demonstrated that fibres with a hollowed out centre could reduce loss of power.

In the study, which was published in Nature Communications, the team from the university’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) showed that luminary through air filled fibres offers a possible solution to beat the attenuation limit set by the glass’s scattering, which poses a limitation to the performance of applications that need shorter wavelengths.

The researchers created three different hollow core fibres, with losses comparable or less than that achieved in solid glass fibres around technologically relevant wavelengths of 660, 850, and 1060nm. The team believes that the lower attenuation offers the potential for advances in quantum communications, data transmission, and laser power delivery.

Professor Francesco Poletti from the ORC said: ‘Many alternative glass types and waveguide technologies are investigated since the 1970s to undertake to unravel this problem. Our findings show that hollow core fibres have the potential to outperform the present optical fibres at various wavelengths utilized in optical technology today. Not only do they need lower attenuation, they will also withstand higher laser intensities, like those needed to melt rocks and drill oil wells, also as produce more efficient lasers for manufacturing.’

The team that developed this technology under funding from the ERC project Lightpipe is constant its work on improving the optical performance of the fibres, while producing longer lengths at a lower cost. David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre, added: ‘The transmission capacity of optical fibres is so large that we never thought we’d reach the purpose where we might use it all up. But within the last five to 10 years, we’ve realised that we’re now on the brink of doing just that and therefore the impact of Covid-19 has accelerated this further. this suggests that not can we tweak conventional fibres to mine more capacity but must resort to the sledgehammer approach of putting in huge numbers of latest fibre cables.’

Concluded Poletti: ‘We are convinced that we'd have finally identified an answer with the potential to enrich , and in many cases, replace all-solid silica fibres that are the mainstay in domestic and commercial applications for half a century.’

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