London, Mar 4 (ANI): Those tangles of wires behind your PC and telephone could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new system being developed at Purdue University that could eliminate wires for communication in homes, businesses and cars.
The researchers have developed a miniature device capable of converting ultrafast laser pulses into bursts of radio-frequency signals, a feat that could make wires obsolete for communications in the homes and offices of the future.
The advance could enable all communications, from high-definition television broadcasts to secure computer connections, to be transmitted from a single base station, said Minghao Qi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.
"Of course, ideas about specific uses of our technology are futuristic and speculative, but we envision a single base station and everything else would be wireless," Nature quoted him as saying.
"This base station would be sort of a computer by itself, perhaps a card inserted into one of the expansion slots in a central computer. The central computer would take charge of all the information processing, a single point of contact that interacts with the external world in receiving and sending information," he added.
Generally, the continuous waves of conventional radio-frequency transmissions encounter interference from stray signals reflecting off of the walls and objects inside a house or office.
However, the pulsing nature of the signals produced by the new "chip-based spectral shaper" reduces the interference that normally plagues radio frequency communications, said Andrew Weiner.
Each laser pulse lasts about 100 femtoseconds, or one-tenth of a trillionth of a second. These pulses are processed using "optical arbitrary waveform technology" pioneered by Purdue researchers led by Weiner.
"What enables this technology is that our devices generate ultrabroad bandwidth radio frequencies needed to transmit the high data rates required for high resolution displays," said Weiner.
Such a technology might eventually be developed to both receive and transmit signals.
"But initially, industry will commercialise devices that only receive signals, for 'one-way' traffic, such as television sets, projectors, monitors and printers. This is because the sending unit for transmitting data is currently still a little bulky. Later, if the sending unit can be integrated into the devices, we could enjoy full two-way traffic, enabling the wireless operation of things like hard-disc drives and computers," said Qi.
The approach also might be used for transmitting wireless signals inside cars.
The researchers first create laser pulses with specific "shapes" that characterize the changing intensity of light from the beginning to end of each pulse.
The pulses are then converted into radio frequency signals.
A key factor making the advance potentially useful is that the pulses transmit radio frequencies of up to 60 gigahertz, a frequency included in the window of the radio spectrum not reserved for military communications.
The Federal Communications Commission does not require a license to transmit signals from 57-64 gigahertz. This unlicensed band also is permitted globally, meaning systems using 60 gigahertz could be compatible worldwide.
"There is only a very limited window for civil operations, and 60 gigahertz falls within this window," Qi said.
The findings of the study have appeared online in the journal Nature Photonics. (ANI)