Andrew Weiner and Daniel Leaird found a way to put a single pulse of light into an arrayed wave guide grating and get a rapid-fire burst of 21 light pulses out of it, with each pulse separated by only two-trillionths of a second. It works similarly to a prism, separating white light by wavelength. The unique properties of the device allow generation of identical, wavelength-shifted pulse trains for communication and photonic signal processing. The discovery could help satisfy demand for increasing network bandwidths. The pair of Purdue University engineers say their device has transmission speeds that are ten times faster than anything currently available. "ISPs are primarily operating at 10 Gbytes/sec per channel, times very many wavelength channels," says Weiner. "Our work can impact higher speed systems, 100 Gbytes/sec per channel and above," he says. Wiener and Laird's idea is to build a module that takes parallel electric data input and converts it into a fast serial optical data stream suitable for fiber transmission. For more information, contact Weiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (765) 494-4709.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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