Nonlinear Optics in Fibers

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Science  07 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5647, pp. 996-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091168

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The use of fiber optics has tranformed telecommunications. In his Perspective, Mollenauer reviews some of the recent technical developments in this field that are based on the nonlinear properties of the fibers. Solitons (that is, light pulses that do not broaden as they travel) in silica fibers form the basis for the most sophisticated commercial ultralong-haul fiber optic transmission systems. Photonic crystal fibers overcome some of the intrinsic limitations of ordinary fibers and may find use in optical amplifiers and frequency transmitters.