Can Lasers Make The Internet Faster?


looking at past trends we could guess
that we’re going to be wanting to send more and more data at higher higher rates so
if you upload a video to Facebook for example, Facebook is storing your video
until someone asked for it. So if you suddenly say now I want to see my dog
bouncing down the hall again now Facebook has to figure out where they
stored it and get all that data bring it right to your computer almost as fast as
you asked for it or if suddenly this video goes viral and everybody across
the united states wants to see your dog bouncing down the hall Facebook has gotta be
able to figure out how to get that data to everybody as fast as they can as soon
as people ask for it. We’re running up against the limit of what electricity
can do. Regular electric wires you try to get more and more data on
there they start to heat up and the wires also start to interfere with one
another and so what we found is that if we send data down these fiber optics
made out of glass that can transport light from one place to another then suddenly we can fit a lot more
information on one strand of glass than we ever could on a wire. We want to try and use those
same advantages that we got from fiber optics not only between computers but
now within computers as well. We want to make lasers at or about a hundred times
thinner than the diameter of a single human hair so these lasers need to be
microscopic to fit in well among all the other microscopic components on the chip
and so there’s lots of researchers who are working on how to shrink all these
components down and get them to talk to each other. the lasers that we’re making now are
actually circular and that’s called a whispering gallery laser and it’s named
after the whispering galleries in cathedrals that have big domes and if
somebody is standing in the right spot clear on the other side of the cathedral
they can actually hear you even if you whisper because the sound waves are
bouncing along the edge of this cathedral and reaching the listener on
the other side. In the same way in these circular lasers that we’ve set up
we actually have set up our cavities so the light bounces around the edge of the
cavity and ends up at the original spot right in step with it. So the pictures
are pretty too actually go as I’m sitting there at my computer sort of testing out
these different laser designs I’ll get to see these pictures of flowers and
these sort of wonderful circularly symmetric patterns coming up on my
screen that’s very satisfying

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