Special Reviews

Coherent Optical Information Systems

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1359-1363
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078823

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Coherent optical beams are used to communicate, store, and process information in a growing number of applications. The availability of coherent laser sources is of critical importance for the realization of such optical information systems. An incoherent source randomly populates the available temporal and spatial channels of the optical system, making it difficult to represent information. Coherent laser sources provide a stable carrier on which to encode information, making it possible to realize powerful information-processing techniques such as wavelength division multiplexing in fiber networks, gated holographic imaging, and three-dimensional optical data storage.

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