What Do We Want? Faster Wireless! Here’s How We Will Get It

Researchers are always looking for ways to make wireless transmission faster. Networks that transfer a lot of data make the transfer using waves of a microwave frequency. Scientists have begun to look into creating a modulator to speedily convert data from electrical signals to optical ones creating faster wireless capabilities.

The modulator plays a very important role in the network. The rate and quality of the conversion that the module performs has a bearing on the microwave photonics. The module connects optical parts and electronics that are mostly silicon, so the chip that it works on should be made of silicon as well. The modulators that these researchers are starting to build are in line with normal rules for semiconductors. Usually a modulator has two passes for light in a chip made of silicon. The light goes into one of the passes and is then split in half. When the two beams of light come back together modulation occurs. This process creates the ‘0’ and the ‘1’ that are used in transferring information.

In a silicon modulator, one pass of light is slowed down by a radio wave. This means that an electrical charge is being taken out of the area around the channel for the light, or it is being put into it. This process changes the silicon material and its related optical factors. These modulators have some differences. While a modulator that operates by offputting an electrical charge are fast at first, the overall speed can be slow. Those that take the charges out usually do not have to deal with as much noise in the signals.

Both types have the ability to be quite fast, gauging in at more than nine gigahertz. Since the two modulators have different strengths and weaknesses, though, each applies itself better to different uses. Researchers are hoping that more tests will help provide information to make the decision of which type of modulator you need to generate faster wireless capacity.