New Applications for Photorefractive Fibers

Lambertus Hesselink

Our appetite for storing, retrieving, and transmitting large amounts of data appears to grow exponentially. Current communication and computer systems linked with copper wires are inadequate to satisfy this need, and are increasingly replaced by fiber optic-based networks. Fiber links have the bandwidths required for transmission of enormous volumes of data, that usually originate in electronic form, and are then converted into and transmitted as optical signals for subsequent backconversion into the electronic domain for further usage. These transformations are inefficient in terms of power consumption, and they are often the rate limiting steps in the overall system. Consequently, there is considerable interest in holographic data storage devices and other photonic devices having I/O bandwidths and processing rates commensurate with fiber optic networks.

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