• United States

My laser is bigger than your laser

Jan 27, 20062 mins
Data Center

According to the American Physical Society’s journal, Physical Review Letters, a team of scientists just built the world’s longest laser out of a fiber optic cable and it could be really useful …

Ultralong Raman Fiber Lasers as Virtually Lossless Optical Media by Juan Diego Ania-Castañón, Tim J. Ellingham, R. Ibbotson, X. Chen, L. Zhang, and Sergei K. Turitsyn of the Photonics Research Group, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, B47ET, United Kingdom and published 18 January 2006 explains that “By transforming the optical fiber span into an ultralong cavity laser, we experimentally demonstrate quasilossless transmission over long (up to 75 km) distances and virtually zero signal power variation over shorter (up to 20 km) spans, opening the way for the practical implementation of integrable nonlinear systems in optical fiber. As a by-product of our technique, the longest ever laser (to the best of our knowledge) has been implemented, with a cavity length of 75 km. A simple theory of the lossless fiber span, in excellent agreement with the observed results, is presented.” Physical Review Focus has an article on the experiment that explains that the “simple Raman-based scheme that almost entirely eliminates variations in the signal power along the fiber’s length.” So, when will the new AT&T powered by SBC roll this cool technology up to my doorstep? I’m not going to be holding my breath …


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

More from this author