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Use air to amplify light



Use air to amplify light

The new hollow-core optical fibers are filled with either air or gas. Credit: Alain Herzog / 2020 EPFL

In a promising breakthrough for the future of communications, EPFL researchers have developed a technology that can amplify light in the latest hollow-core optical fibers.

Luc Thévenaz, head of the Fiber Group at EPFL̵

7;s School of Engineering said: “This idea has been around my head for about 15 years, but I never have the time or the resources to do anything about it. . Now, his lab has developed the latest in hollow-core optical fiber amplification technology.

Square the circle

Today’s optical fibers usually have a solid glass core, with no air inside. Light can travel along the fibers but loses half its intensity after 15 km. It continued to weaken until it could hardly be detected at 300 km. So in order to keep the light moving, it must be steadily amplified.

Thévenaz’s approach is based on new hollow-core optical fibers filled with either air or gas. “Air means there is less attenuation, so light can travel over longer distances. That’s a real advantage,” the professor said. But in a thin substance like air, light is more difficult to amplify. “That’s the crux of the problem: Light travels faster with less drag, but at the same time harder to act. Fortunately, our discovery squared that circle.”

From infrared to ultraviolet rays

So what did the researchers do? Fan Yang, a postdoctoral graduate, explains: “We just add pressure to the air in the fiber to create some controlled drag. “It works in a similar way to optical tweezers – the air molecules are compressed and form clusters evenly spaced. This produces sound waves that increase amplitude and effectively diffract light from a source. the beam is weakened so that it is amplified up to 100,000 times. ”Thus, their technique makes the light significantly stronger. “Our technology can be applied to any type of light, from infrared to ultraviolet rays and to any gas,” he explains. Their findings have just been published on Natural photon.






In a promising breakthrough for the future of communications, EPFL researchers have developed a technology that can amplify light in the latest hollow-core optical fibers. Credit: Valérie Geneux / Alain Herzog / 2020 EPFL

An extremely accurate thermometer

In the future, this technology may serve purposes other than light amplification. For example, hollow core or pneumatic fiber optics can be used to make extremely precise thermometers. Flavien Gyger, Ph .D. student. The technology can also be used to create a temporary optical memory by stopping light in the fiber for a microsecond – ten times longer than current capacity.


The leap in efficiency saw hollow core fiber technology almost identical to mainstream fiber


More information:
High intensity Brillouin amplification in gas using hollow core waveguides, Natural photon (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41566-020-0676-z, www.nature.com/articles/s41566-020-0676-z

Provided by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne



Quote: Using Air to Amplify Light (2020, Aug 10) retrieved August 10, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-08-air-amplify.html

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