Laser can revolutionise data transfer, communication

A new laser can deliver error-free data at a record speed of 40 gigabits per second.

Updated: Mar 07, 2011, 12:55 PM IST

London: A new laser can deliver error-free data at a record speed of 40 gigabits per second, four times the current speed, thus paving the way for faster Internet traffic, computers and mobile phones.

It is a cheaper and more energy-efficient laser for fibre optics than its conventional cousins, which can send only up to 10 gigabits per second through optical fibres.

But researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden managed to tweak the speed of the surface emitting laser by four times.

"The market for this technology is gigantic. In the huge data centres that handle the Internet there are today over one hundred million surface emitting lasers, according to a Chalmers statement.

"That figure is expected to increase a hundredfold," said Professor Anders Larsson at Chalmers, who has developed the high speed laser together with his research group in optoelectronics.

Unlike a conventional laser, the light from a surface emitting laser is emitted from the surface of the laser chip (not from the edge), similar to in an LED.

The laser volume is smaller. It requires less power without losing speed. The energy and power consumption is a tenth of what a conventional laser requires at 40 gigabits per second.

One can easily imagine dramatic performance gains in mobile phones and other electronics ahead. Most imminent are applications in supercomputers and the type of large data centres run by Google, eBay and Amazon, scientists say.