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World first: ‘Storing lightning inside thunder’

World first: ‘Storing lightning inside thunder’

Image: Dr Birgit Stiller and Moritz Merklein inside their lab in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub.  Image credit: Louise Cooper/The University of Sydney.

Researchers from The University of Sydney’s node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) have dramatically slowed digital information carried as light waves by transferring the data into sound waves in an integrated circuit, or microchip.

It is the first time this has been achieved.

Transferring information from the optical to acoustic domain and back again inside a chip is critical for the development of photonic integrated circuits: microchips that use light instead of electrons to manage data.

These chips are being developed for use in telecommunications, optical fibre networks and cloud computing data centres where traditional electronic devices are susceptible to electromagnetic interference, produce too much heat or use too much energy.

“The information in our chip in acoustic form travels at a velocity five orders of magnitude slower than in the optical domain,” said Dr Birgit Stiller, research fellow at The University of Sydney and supervisor of the project. “It is like the difference between thunder and lightning,” she said

 
Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS).

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