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Photonic Crystal Fibers with Ultralow Nonlinearities

The nonlinearity of optical fibers as a function of power is a critical limiting factor for future expansion of the bandwidth of telecommunications systems. This nonlinearity results in crosstalk between different wavelength channels and produces communication errors. CNS nanophotonics researchers have collaborated with Corning scientists on the characterization of a
recently developed low-loss photonic band-gap fiber (PBGF) made at Corning. PBGF consists of thin glass walls forming long channels. Light is guided primarily through the air-filled channels rather than in solid glass. The fiber shown in the Figure has a nonlinearity equal to air, 1000 times smaller than conventional glass fibers, and also an attenuation coefficient that is 200 times less than previously reported designs. As a demonstration of the high powers that can be propagated by such a fiber, we show [see Fig. 1(b)] it can deliver pulses with peak powers exceeding 2 MegaWatts.

[Lead Investigators: A. Gaeta (CNS) and K. W. Koch (Corning)]

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