Communicating with light

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Presenter: Polina Bayvel

Published: October 2014

Age: 14-19 and upwards

Views: 908 views

Tags: light;optical;fibre;data

Type: Lectures

Source/institution: Royal Society

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Most of the data we generate and receive (whether emails, tweets, videos or mobile calls) are now carried by optical fibres, which use light to transmit vast quantities of information over trans-oceanic distances. The use of hundreds of wavelengths (colours of light) over a single fibre, as well as other properties of light: its amplitude, phase and polarisation, have led to increases of many orders of magnitude in the optical information carrying capacity. This sparked the communication revolution and the growth of the Internet, and created an illusion of infinite capacity being available. Polina Bayvel is Professor of Optical Communications and Networks at University College London.