Hot New Beam May Zap Bandwidth Bottleneck

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Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2454
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5551.2454

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Companies seeking to connect individual homes and offices to the long-distance fiber-optic cables capable of transmitting full-length movies and video phone conversations over the Internet have recently been pursuing an alternative to laying fiber called free-space optics, in which an infrared laser beams data to a receiver on your rooftop. But the only cheap semiconductor lasers available don't work over long enough distances. Now a report published online this week by Science ( describes a new semiconductor infrared laser that could be used at distances of 2 kilometers.