October 28, 2008

Silicon Core Optical Fiber is Created

U.S. scientists say they have, for the first time, produced a practical optical fiber with a silicon core.

The Clemson University researchers -- led by Professor John Ballato and fiber pioneer Roger Stolen -- created the new fiber using the same methods employed in developing commercial all-glass fibers, making silicon fibers viable alternatives to glass fibers for selected specialty applications.

The scientists said their achievement should ultimately help increase efficiency and decrease power consumption in computers and other systems that integrate photonic and electronic devices.

"In essence, we've married optoelectronics with optical fibers," said Ballato. "In the past, we've needed one structure to process light and another to carry it. With a silicon fiber, for the first time, we have the ability to greatly enhance the functionality in one fiber."

The finding appears in the journal Optics Express.