Washington, November 21 : Leading chemical company BASF is researching into the development of three-dimensional photonic crystals, which may revolutionise telecommunications in future.
The organisation has started the "NewTon" research project in collaboration with Hanover Laser Centre, Thales Aerospace Division, Photon Design Ltd., the Technical University of Denmark and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications de Bretagne.
The researchers expect to have developed that first functional components of the new technology by the end of 2008.
They say that the long-term goal of the their research, half of which is being funded by the European Union, is to use three-dimensional photonic crystals as construction elements in telecommunication.
The optical fibres-based technology that is currently used for transmitting telephone conversations, websites, photographs, or music etc. has one drawback at the "network nodes", say the researchers.
According to them, at these nodes the routing of the information to the end-user is still done electrically because no competitive all-optical routing processor is yet available, and that is why this technology costs time and energy.
The research team is now trying to develop a photonic crystal, which may be used as components for an all-optical routing processor in telecommunications.
"A structured three-dimensional photonic crystal could be the key component for a compact optical semiconductor or even for an all-optical routing processor. Converting optical signals into electrical signals would then be superfluous," said Dr. Reinhold J. Leyrer who is BASF's project leader in Polymer Research division.
However, the researchers will first have to develop a stable, structured three-dimensional photonic crystal, which his exactly the goal of the EU project "NewTon".
The researchers say that the crystals, being smaller than electronic components themselves, will allow the development of smaller and cheaper equipment, besides offering improved performance.
They also say that components and equipment based on photonic crystals would be more resistant and less vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation. (ANI)
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