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Fastest Single-Laser Transmission

Researchers send 26 terabits per second of data with only one laser

3 min read
Fastest Single-Laser Transmission

25 May 2011—German scientists have set a world record for optical communications, transmitting 26 trillion bits of data per second—enough to download 700 DVDs in an instant—using just a single laser.

The work, which was published online Monday in Nature Photonics, should reduce the power consumption of communications systems and could lead the way toward the next standard for optical data transmission, says Juerg Leuthold, a professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, in Germany, who led the work. "Twenty-six terabits is a lot of information," he says. However, other optics experts point out that multiple-laser systems still have the edge.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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