Research NewsOptics

Tripping the Light at Fantastic Speeds

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Science  27 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5321, pp. 1970
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5321.1970

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The speediest communication schemes today encode data as pulses of laser light fired through glass optical fibers. But the comparatively slow electronic switches that pulse the light on and off limit the overall speed of these systems. Now researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Osaka University in Japan have come up with a new polymer-based optical switch that has the potential to boost the data rate dramatically.