News of the WeekPHOTONICS

Optical Circuits Turn a Corner

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Science  09 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5387, pp. 207
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5387.207a

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On page 274 of this issue of Science, a team of researchers describes an artificial structure called a photonic crystal that can transmit light with minimal loss and make it turn a sharp corner. Such a device is a crucial element in telecommunications researchers' ultimate goal of developing optical circuits that can process infrared or microwave signals directly rather than having to convert them into electrical signals and pass them through electronic circuits as in current telecommunications systems--a development which could speed communications enormously.