Researchers from the University of Osaka, Japan and the University of Adelaide, Australia, worked together to produce the new pure silicon multiplexer for terahertz range communications in the 300 GHz band.
“In order to control the high spectral bandwidth of terahertz waves, a multiplexer, which is used to divide and join signals, is essential for dividing information into manageable blocks which can be more easily processed and therefore can be transmitted more quickly from device to device, ”said Associate Professor Withawat Withayachumnankul of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide.
“Until now, compact and practical multiplexers have not been developed for the terahertz range. The new terahertz multiplexers, which are economical to manufacture, will be extremely useful for very high speed wireless communications.
“The shape of the chips we developed is the key to combining and dividing the channels so that more data can be processed faster. Simplicity is its beauty.”
All over the world, people are increasingly using mobile devices to access the Internet, and the number of connected devices is growing exponentially. Soon, machines will communicate with each other in the Internet of Things, requiring even more powerful wireless networks capable of rapidly transferring large volumes of data.
Terahertz waves are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that has a raw spectral bandwidth that is much wider than that of conventional wireless communications, which are microwave-based. The team has developed ultra-compact and efficient terahertz multiplexers, using a new optical tunneling process.
“A typical four-channel optical multiplexer could cover over 2,000 wavelengths. It would be about two meters in length in the 300 GHz band,” said Dr. Daniel Headland of Osaka University, senior author of the ‘study.
“Our device measures only 25 wavelengths, which offers a dramatic size reduction by a factor of 6000.”
The new multiplexer covers a spectral bandwidth which is more than 30 times the total spectrum allocated in Japan for 4G / LTE, the fastest mobile technology currently available and 5G which is the next generation, combined. As the bandwidth is linked to the data rate, ultra-fast digital transmission is possible with the new multiplexer.
“Our four-channel multiplexer has the potential to support an aggregate data rate of 48 gigabits per second (Gbps), equivalent to that of uncompressed ultra high definition 8K video broadcast in real time,” said the professor. Fellow Masayuki Fujita, Osaka Team Leader. University.
“To make the entire system portable, we plan to integrate this multiplexer with resonant tunnel diodes to provide compact multi-channel terahertz transceivers.”
The modulation scheme used in the team’s study was fairly basic; the terahertz power was simply turned on and off to transmit binary data. More advanced techniques are available which can push even higher data rates to 1 Terabit / s in a given bandwidth allocation.
“The new multiplexer can be mass produced, just like computer chips, but much simpler. So large-scale market penetration is possible,” said Professor Tadao Nagatsuma of Osaka University.
“This would allow applications in 6G and beyond, as well as the Internet of Things, and low probability intercept communications between compact aircraft such as autonomous drones.”
This study, which is published in the journal OPTICAL and was funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) CREST Funding Program, a KAKENHI Grant, and a Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC), builds on the work of the team in 2020 when they created silicon without substrate and without metal. micro-photonics for efficient integrated terahertz devices. This innovation has opened a way to convert existing nanophotonic multiplexers into the terahertz domain.
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Material provided by Osaka University. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.