Laser chip looks to supplant microwave communications

March 08, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Laser chip looks to supplant microwave communications
Semiconductor laser technology company OptiPulse says that it has discovered a new light source that sends invisible eye-safe photons wirelessly from one building or pole to another at 10 Gbps.

The light source, says the company, is a miniature chip with 19 lasers on it and costs ~$1 to produce in large volumes and has tested error-free at 25 Gbps - which means the light is turning on and off at 25 billion times a second to send data over a "laser" type beam of invisible light. The company designed and developed the compound semiconductor chip, and produced it at a commercial foundry.

The chips were installed in a "binocular" type third prototype that emulates a wireless infrastructure link. The company says it is developing products that use the chips to try to prove that light is superior to microwaves for sending high speed wireless data.

The demonstrated prototype that linked from one building to another at 10 Gbps each way used invisible light about the same wavelength as a TV remote's infrared light. The demonstrated 10 Gbps upload and download systems, says the company, can reduce the cost and increase the performance of those links.

The third prototype used less than a quarter of the energy a typical microwave link uses per bit sent. These combined factors, says the company, may ultimately lead to a significant reduction in energy use worldwide even as the bandwidth demands increase.

The company says its first goal is to make infrastructure links that can "plug into" current infrastructure systems to upgrade those systems to superior performance. There will be a parallel development to a Smartpole that bolts into place and immediately connects to poles around it about four blocks apart. Those Smartpoles may distribute gigabit-per-second low latency links to homes and businesses for a very low cost.

Company CEO Joseph says he believes the way to prevent this work from being taken over is by getting the public to fund and oversee its development. The company has started with a WeFunder crowd funding campaign where the public can invest as little as $100: https://wefunder.com/optipulse

OptiPulse

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