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Terahertz bandwidth: the key to 1,000x faster smartphones, laptops and pipe dreams

Darren Murph
03.12.12
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Much like carbon nanotubes and quantum computing, terahertz technologies have been promising miracles for nearly as long as humans have been able to distinguish water from fire. We exaggerate, but barely. A crafty team assembled at the University of Pittsburgh seems to have no qualms with moving forward, however, recently announcing a new physical basis for terahertz bandwidth. Those involved managed to have success in generating a frequency comb -- "dividing a single color of light into a series of evenly spaced spectral lines for a variety of uses -- that spans a more than 100 terahertz bandwidth by exciting a coherent collective of atomic motions in a semiconductor silicon crystal." For those who managed to make it through the technobabble, we're told that the ability to modulate light with such a bandwidth could "increase the amount of information carried by more than 1,000 times when compared to the volume carried with today's technologies." Smartphones, computers and even airline check-in kiosks that operate 1,000 faster than they do today? Sure, we'll take that. But, how about give us a ring when Wally World deems it ripe for commercialization? We'll be waiting -- pinky promise.

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