Applied Physics

Fine-Tuning Fast Pulses

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Science  06 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5527, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5527.15b

The ability to transmit large amounts of information quickly over vast optic fiber networks affects millions of people daily, in business and in entertainment. As the demand for faster transmission rates grows, one obvious tactic would be to reduce the duration of the optical pulses beyond the picosecond times used at present. However, launching intense femtosecond optical pulses into an optic fiber creates an array of nonlinear optical effects within the fiber. These effects temporally distort the spectral makeup of the pulses, thus inhibiting their accurate transmission and ultimately limiting the information-carrying capacity of the fiber.

Omenetto et al. report an adaptive pulse-shaping technique that can be used to overcome the distortion of the pulse as it travels along the fiber. An initialization algorithm and a series of test pulses are used to tune the shape of the input pulse, so that once it is launched into the fiber, the distortion of the pulse is minimized. The demonstrated compensation of pulse distortion is a possible route toward faster information exchange that uses shorter and more intense optical pulses. — ISO

Opt. Lett. 26, 938 (2001).

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