Smarter routers and processors for better communication systems

A team of physicists has developed a new way to control the paths of light beams trapped in liquid crystals using laser beams and external magnetic fields1.

This magneto-optical control will aid in developing efficient and robust signal processing methods for optical communication systems.

“Our method can replace some important elements in the optical communication systems such as routers, switchers, optical resonators and other devices, making them smaller, cheaper, faster and more flexible,” says physicist Vladlen Shvedov of the Australian National University, Australia.

Shvedov and his colleagues from Australia, Qatar and Italy explain that their method involved placing liquid crystals between two optical glass slides, then exposing this to a coherent laser beam and a magnetic field. This generated self-confined light beams inside the liquid crystals and reoriented the molecules of the crystals. read more

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