Single chip transmits 1,84 petabits/s over fibre

23 November 2022 Opto-Electronics

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen have successfully transmitted 1,84 petabits of data per second over a 37-core, 7,9 km-long fibre-optic cable. This was enabled by splitting the data up onto different wavelengths, which were then transmitted simultaneously. In total, 223 wavelength channels were used via a single microcomb ring resonator. This total bandwidth is more traffic than travels through the entire internet’s backbone network per second.

The system was built on a photonic chip, which allows optical components to be built onto computer chips. This chip splits up the data stream into separate sections, each of which is transmitted down a separate fibre-optic core. Each of these channels is then further divided up into 223 channels each using a separate area in the electromagnetic spectrum. This allowed the data to be transmitted simultaneously in different colours, without interference with each other.

The amount of information being transmitted and received is so vast that currently no computer exists that can handle this amount of data. To test the system, the researchers relied on using dummy data that was first transmitted using one channel only to determine that they could actually recover the received data. The system was then scaled up to use all 223 channels.

The technology could enable the creation of single chips that can transmit vastly more data than is currently possible. Even though a huge increase in bandwidth could be realised, energy costs could simultaneously be reduced.

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