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"Time Telescope" Could Boost Fibre-Optic Communications

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the way-faster-than-88-mph dept.

Networking 183

An anonymous reader writes "A time lens can focus a chunk of time to a point, rather like a normal lens focuses light rays. Put two time lenses together and you can create what a Cornell University team calls a 'time domain telescope' which can magnify time. They sent a 2.5 nanosecond long light pulse, encoding 24 bits of information, into their time telescope. What came out on the other side was the same 24 bit pulse, but compressed into 92 picoseconds. Squashing more information into a light pulse could help to send more information via optical fibres."

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183 comments

Oh good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572053)

So does this mean that Verizion can set fires even faster? /I'm not bitter, I'm just stuck using Qwest DSL. Until I die. Weep.

Re:Oh good! (0, Flamebait)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572763)

Can it see back into last night so I can find where I put my keys?

Re:Oh good! (2, Funny)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572947)

Yes, but you may not like what you see. Lets just put it like this:

Last Night
You Beer
Girl Hideous
You Horny
Taxi Ride
Whale Ride

Re:Oh good! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573191)

But I am a Cetacean, you insensitive clod!

Re:Oh good! (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573283)

I think you're 83.33% correct.

salesman speak (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572085)

"A time lens can focus a chunk of time to a point, rather like a normal lens focuses light rays."

no, its not LIKE a normal lens, it IS a normal lens. kind of like how "cloud computing" is the same client/ server model of decades past, a "times lens" is basically, uh, gee, a lens. but made sexy by introducing scifi fantasy terminology for the sake of grabbing attention

Re:salesman speak (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572157)

That's not very web 2.0 of you! The cloud will focus it's wrath upon you with a time lense. Smote.

Re:salesman speak (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572227)

It's just yet another technology invented in a lab for academics' sake.

We've had items these [agilent.com] and lots of protocols related to this [opticsinfobase.org] for years now.

Re:salesman speak (2, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572605)

Yeah, just like the laser, what has that ever done for us? Other than provide stylish accessories for sharks, of course.

Re:salesman speak (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572303)

"cloud computing" is the "client/server" model like the iPhone is the "rotary phone" model. I certainly agree with your premise that people like to hype things, and this is just a lens with a fancy name. But "cloud computing" is a long-distant descendant of the "client server" model. They aren't the same thing anymore than a nuclear bomb is just "a really strong TNT bomb".

Re:salesman speak (3, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572479)

Cloud computing is just client server model on a larger scale with new technologies to make it possible. They are exactly the same conceptually, the only difference is the specific technologies being used to complete the goal. Oh and one is a marketing buzzword used to generate interest while the other is a 'technical' description of a system.

The only reason cloud computing is considered new is because of the scale it is being done on, the markets being targeted, and the technologies being used. So it may be "new" in that sense, but it is still 100% client server model at its core which is indeed old. Just like lenses are old but are being used in something new. Perfect analogy really. If you do indeed think they are vastly different, please explain how the concept of cloud computing does not mirror the concept of client/server model.

Re:salesman speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572601)

Also probably because of the number of PHBs involved who have no idea what the client-server model is or does.

Re:salesman speak (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572791)

Client/server is a communications model. Cloud computing is a business model, a management model, a deployment model, etc... You might as well say "networking" is the real concept, and that fancy "cloud computing" is just a PHB term for "networking". Let's just call cloud "computer networking!".

Cloud computing isn't about a "client" and a "server". It's about moving more of your data and business processes off systems and software you support and letting someone else do it.

Cloud computing will have client server components. So what? When I use my Xbox 360 to play games over the internet should I tell people I'm using a "client/server system" or that I'm playing my god damn Xbox 360?

It's fun to mock the Latest Thing, and sometimes it deserves it, but cloud computing is not just a fancy name for Client/Server.

Re:salesman speak (3, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572861)

Agreed, it is more like fancy name for a mainframe with RJE.

the emperor's new clothes (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572939)

make it fancy sounding enough, and you can sell people air

read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Client-server [wikipedia.org]

aka: cloud computing

"Client/server is a communications model. Cloud computing is a business model, a management model, a deployment model, etc... You might as well say "networking" is the real concept, and that fancy "cloud computing" is just a PHB term for "networking". Let's just call cloud "computer networking!""

so when the PHBs of the 1980s were deploying client/ server based systems, they were concerned with simply ethernet cable and routers? they weren't thinking at all about their business model, management model, or deployment model?

look, if i wave my hands fast enough, you can't see what i'm really talking about... zzz

Re:the emperor's new clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573171)

Yup, all I see is blurry hands.

Re:the emperor's new clothes (2, Informative)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573343)

If it makes you feel better you can use such sophistry to claim they are the same thing. I'm not clear if you're being intentionally dense or just don't understand.

My point about just calling it "computer networking" is that it certainly is "computer networking". It's also "client server". And it's also "cloud computing". They all add meaning. It's not even that hard to grasp.

I'm using "client server" if I have a few hundred netapps in a computer room and use NFS to expose the data to my client machines. I'm not using cloud computing.

If I use Amazon's storage resources and Amazon's virtual computing infrastructure to host my services then I'm using the cloud.

Of course it's client/server. Almost any system that uses a network could be termed client/server, even e.g. P2P. What's your point?

Re:salesman speak (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573043)

The client server model is not a communications model, it is all of the models you described above for cloud computing. You are looking at the cloud from the point of view that the 'marketers' want you to.

The 'cloud' consists of many servers that store your information, process your information, and deliver it to you when you need it over a network. This supports lower powered client hardware, centrally stored data, changes to code can be deployed to the server, etc. I can go on all day with properties of 'cloud computing'.

The client server model consists of many servers that store your information, process your information, and deliver it to you when you need it over a network. This supports lower powered client hardware, centrally stored data, changes to code can be deployed to the server, etc. Wait what... same thing?

The client server model is a business model, a management model, a deployment model, it was just never marketed or viewed that way even though it inherently was. It's one of those things that someone realized that applying a term to better describe it would be a great marketing idea, and it is a great marketing idea. Clearly no one thinks of the client/server model as a way of doing business despite the fact that it is.

Wait, you don't say you are using the cloud when you play XBox? I don't really get your point here. I never said that using the phrase cloud computing is bad, I was stating it is not a new concept and that it is the client server model. Call it what you want but the analogy we are talking about stands (and it's not even mine so I am going way out of my way to defend it)

Re:salesman speak (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573413)

Client/server is a characteristic used in almost any networked system today. I'm using client/server if I use BitTorrent. Is it useful or descriptive to just call BitTorrent "Client/server"? Isn't "P2P" more descriptive?

The point of the cloud isn't even technical - it's a business process. Instead of paying for your own "client" and "server" you let someone else pay for and host the "server", "network", "platforms", and/or "software".

Client server is so implicit in pretty much everything computing and network related that it is meaningless to say "but, durr, that's just client/server!". Of fucking course it is. It's also "computer networking", "silicon", "bits and bytes". No shit!

Let's just call web services TCP/IP services. What point is there in informing, via a term, the implications of protocol, openness, security, etc...

Re:salesman speak (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573229)

>>>Client/server is a communications model. Cloud computing is a business model

Whatever. It still reminds me of the hellish 1970s/80s VAX machines where you could only access your programs/data from a central source, and if that source or connection went down, you were out of luck. I was much happier when I got rid of that and exchanged it for a computer that ran its own software any time and any place I felt like it.

Re:salesman speak (1)

Merc248 (1026032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572869)

Well, for one, instead of a bunch of clunky individual servers on my diagram, I can now draw a cloud. It saves me a TON of time.

(okay, not really.)

Re:salesman speak (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572741)

But "cloud computing" is a long-distant descendant of the "client server" model. They aren't the same thing anymore than a nuclear bomb is just "a really strong TNT bomb".

If "cloud computing" is so different from the client-server model (with the server being provided by someone else), then surely you can name some differences between the two models.

Well?

Re:salesman speak (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572875)

The cloud theoretically doesn't have fixed resources, unlike previous excursions into hosted serving. You either had enough capacity for everything, or you needed a faster server that ran idle most of the time. The cloud concept really is a complete rethinking of server balancing by distributing both the software and the data as needed.

But that's just what I get from a bit of reading. I'm not a cloud user, though it'd be something I'd look at if I had a load I thought it could benefit.

Re:salesman speak (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573009)

Ah, so it's like shared hosting, where the bill you per storage, CPU usage, bandwidth, etc.

Welcome to the 1970s!

Re:salesman speak (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573481)

First and foremost, interoperability and standards. Was there a hosting service "in the 1970's" (apparently when everyone likes to pretend something non-new was _really_ invented_) where you could switch providers for storage, software as a service, manageability, etc...?

Elasticity. Was there a notorious 1970's service where I could dynamically allocate network bandwidth, storage, virtual computers, etc... and choose from multiple vendors to do so? And old timers, don't bore me with claims about mainframes. I know, there were all that and a bowl of chicken. Nobody cares.

If all this shit is _sooo_ 1970, why is it that almost all companies still have big computer rooms, pay for the power, pay for specialized support, support their own software, etc...?

I'm not saying it's the newest thing since sliced bread - not at all. Like most technologies or business process improvements it's aggregative (if that were a word) and incremental. It is a term for something, however, and it's not just "client server".

Salesmen guy who didn't RTFA. (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572345)

So, a normal lens will compress a series of pulses into a shorter series? How, exactly? I didn't realize that normal lenses worked by exciting the atoms in a waveguide with an infrared laser.

Re:Salesmen guy who didn't RTFA. (3, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573097)

...and he got modded up. "News for Nerds" used to mean the kind of nerds that were like Lisa Simpson and Martin Prince. Now the typical Slashdot nerd is more likely to be the Milhouse van Houten kind of nerd.

Re:Salesmen guy who didn't RTFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573543)

...and he got modded up.

"News for Nerds" used to mean the kind of nerds that were like Lisa Simpson and Martin Prince. Now the typical Slashdot nerd is more likely to be the Milhouse van Houten kind of nerd.

Whoah whoah whoah! To be fair, Milhouse declared himself he wasn't a nerd, because "nerds are smart".

Re:salesman speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572347)

Sounds to me like FM with visible light wavelengths instead of the wavelengths we usually use for FM radio.

Who said what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572399)

The device is pretty straight forward: The light pulses become bigger on the inside than the outside.

Re:Who said what? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573025)

Light pulses of encoding?

I can't wait for the light pulses of devouring.

Re:salesman speak (1)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572881)

I think the word you're looking for is 'compression'

Re:salesman speak (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572951)

It's not a normal lens at all. An optical lens functions only in spatial domains, whereas this functions in the time domain. Granted, it does not "compress time", but that level of reporting is part for the course in science.

If you know of a way of using optical lenses to turn a 1 GHz signal into a 2 GHz signal, do let us know.

Re:salesman speak (1)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573027)

It's not a normal lens at all. An optical lens functions only in spatial domains, whereas this functions in the time domain. Granted, it does not "compress time", but that level of reporting is part for the course in science.

If you know of a way of using optical lenses to turn a 1 GHz signal into a 2 GHz signal, do let us know.

duh -- just invert the lense...

Re:salesman speak (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573497)

> but that level of reporting is part for the course in science.
                                                                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
"par for the course" -- it is a golf analogy.

Alternately, you could have used "part and parcel" of science reporting to imply that it is always like that except in very special cases like the Nobel Prize winner in Physics writing an article for Popular Mechanics.

Deceptive Name (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572093)

I'm used to these physics guys doing all kinds of crazy things with invisibility cloaks and such so I took the title to be a literal time lense.

After RTFA, the "time lense" is a frequency up-shifter. Still impressive, but not supernatural as I had hoped.

Re:Deceptive Name (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572295)

After RTFA, the "time lense" is a frequency up-shifter.

So an Auto-Tune, basically.

Re:Deceptive Name (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572621)

This was exactly my conclusion from the summary.

Re:Deceptive Name (1)

dword (735428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572619)

"Deceptive name" is even better, but... hey, it got them on Slashdot!

Re:Deceptive Name (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573039)

Too right.

The major disappointment that hit my face when i read it wasn't an actual time lens... that will permanently scar my face.

My kids in however many years time will ask me why i have a huge scar on my face and i will tell them about this very story.
Then they'll take out their actual time telescope and peer back to when i was typing this message, causing the universe to implode in to SCIENCE.

Re:Deceptive Name (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573173)

So they re-invented Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Wiggers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572095)

So now MTV and BET can convince suburban white boys to act like niggers with even greater efficiency. Not the fine contributions to our culture that people who happen to be black have made, no, what sells is that fuck-you attitude, violence, abuse of women, and smoking crack. Nigger shit, coming to a youth near you. Hip-hip hooray!

don't need the 1.21 GW yet (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572097)

Not varying time but varying the speed of light over a pulse, still pretty cool but no need for the delorean yet.

Re:don't need the 1.21 GW yet (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572317)

Frequency, not speed.

Re:don't need the 1.21 GW yet (1)

smolloy (1250188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572591)

Both. They vary the frequency over the light pulse so that different parts of the pulse travel with different speeds, thus causing the back of the pulse to catch up with the front.

I think I saw a movie about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572103)

...Ben Affleck starred.

We're boned.

Re:I think I saw a movie about this... (4, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572149)

...Ben Affleck starred.

We're boned.

So you were the guy who saw it.

Spacetime, not "squishing time" (1, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572109)

"A time lens can focus a chunk of time to a point,"

Since einstein we really know that space and time is the same thing, we really should just call it "squishing space", since time is really a measurement of a distribution of matter and energy, we've compressed the space (and hence the time).

"Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, ... and can only appear as a limited region in space where the field strength / energy density are particularly high."--- (Albert Einstein, 1950)

Re:Spacetime, not "squishing time" (3, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572671)

Hrm....

Don't you mean time dilation [wikipedia.org] ?

Time compression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572127)

Doesn't that mean they compressed the amount of time it took light to travel that distance, and therefore changed the speed of light? Or was this simply a compression of the distance between the photons?

Re:Time compression? (5, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572197)

Doesn't that mean they compressed the amount of time it took light to travel that distance, and therefore changed the speed of light? Or was this simply a compression of the distance between the photons?

Neither. They've created a frequency upshifter (possibly one with interesting spectral properties to preserve the integrity of the encoded information, although the New Sensationalist article is so completely incoherent it's impossible to say if they have actually achieved that result) and given it the most dishonest, misleading name possible to confuse people, as posters above have noted, to grab attention.

They've got attention, but they haven't conveyed any information.

Re:Time compression? (2, Funny)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572353)

They've got attention, but they haven't conveyed any information.

They've conveyed the information, but it's encoded in the 24 bits of the light pulse

An image of Steve Jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572471)

I must have lost it in my reality distortion field.

Re:Time compression? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572437)

You've missed the point. The "time telescope" is constructed of two of the frequency-changing lenses. The first lens disperses, the second converges, just like in a normal two-lens telescope. (Except the time telescope does it in frequency/time space instead of position space like your average telescope would.)

The result is a time-compressed pulse at the original frequency. The frequency-shifting is just part of the mechanism that gets this to work.

Re:Time compression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572847)

Please describe how 'time-compressing' a waveform is different than frequency-shifting it.

Re:Time compression? (3, Informative)

geeber (520231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573051)

"Please describe how 'time-compressing' a waveform is different than frequency-shifting it"

If I frequency shift a waveform by a factor of 2, then the time compression is also a factor of 2. The article doesn't really mention it, but the frequency shifts in this experiment are much less than a factor of 2, but the time compression is from 2.5 ns to 95 ps, a factor of 27 compression.

This is a real time lens. A spatial lens works by imparting a quadratic spatial phase to light. Diffraction then causes the beam to focus due to the quadratic spatial phase.

A time lens works in analogy to a spatial lens by imparting a quadratic temporal phase to a light pulse. Propagation in a dispersive media then leads to the time compression.

The difficulty is it is very hard to impart a quadratic phase to short light pulses. The only real way to do it is nonlinear optics, which is where the (small) frequency shifts mentioned in the article come from.

Re:Time compression? (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573365)

Imagine a speech audio signal.

If you were to just compress the signal in time, the rate of speech would increase, but the frequency (pitch) would as well - it would sound like a chipmunk. This is what a simple resampling program would do.

On the other hand if you were to just frequency-shift the signal (say by heterodyning) then the rate of speech would be the same, but the pitch would change. This is what pitch-correction programs do.

If you do both in series and in opposite directions so the cancel, then the pitch remains the same but rate of speech is now increased. This is what fast playback programs (say for audio books) do.

The researchers figured out how to do the last to light using simple lenses. This could be useful because you can send the data down the same channel (like a frequency multiplexed fiber) as the original signal was intended for.

Re:Time compression? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572701)

They've got attention, but they haven't conveyed any information.

Which means the IPO should be right around the corner.

Re:Time compression? (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572725)

Perhaps all the information is there, but its been compressed by a time telescope to the point it is now a black hole. Since the information is within the event horizon, you cannot see it.

Go ahead. Disprove it.

Re:Time compression? (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572921)

the New Sensationalist article is so completely incoherent it's impossible to say if they have actually achieved that result) and given it the most dishonest, misleading name possible to confuse people, as posters above have noted, to grab attention. They've got attention, but they haven't conveyed any information.

So, the same as they do with origins science...

Re:Time compression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572235)

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I'd like to do

Is to save every day

Till eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

Re:Time compression? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572911)

The speed of light in a vacuum will never change. However, many different materials have different speeds of light. Just the earth's atmosphere has a slower speed of light than c. Normal lenses take advantage of the different speeds of light in glass versus air, and use that to their advantage to redirect the path of light. Time to take a physics class.

Subspace communications? (0)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572165)

Now all we need is Uhura [wikipedia.org] to open up a channel?

Re:Subspace communications? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572359)

In return, they could change ST opening speech with "Time, the final frontier". That would make a good part of the serie to get some meaning.

Re:Subspace communications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572755)

No, it won't. The last time they tried that, most people thought it was boring.

Re:Subspace communications? (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572555)

This is Slashdot. We know who Uhura is.

Re:Subspace communications? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573137)

He even linked to a picture of the wrong Uhura :P

Re:Subspace communications? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573239)

And that's not Uhura.

These future Slashdot comments are hilarious... (3, Funny)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572193)

.. I should know since I read them 70 picoseconds ago using my time telescope.

Re:These future Slashdot comments are hilarious... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572287)

You forgot to start your comment with "Good news, everyone!"

WTH? (3, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572219)

Moving pulses through time has been done with electronic delay lines for about 80 years now. The theory and technology are well worked out, both in the time and frequency/phase domain. A friend of mine worked out an alternate theory around 1961, which left the theorists scratching their heads--- how could there be TWO optimum but different ways of squishing pulses? But it was true.

Anyway, you don't hear much about this technology as it's not a panacea of any sort. Any information you squeeze in time is going to undergo some unavoidable phase distortion-- not anything you want a lot of. And the inverse operation at the other end adds even more distortion. Yep, no free lunch, once again.

Dupe Eraser (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572243)

Does this mean Slashdot can pro-actively fix dupes without anybody seeing?

Fantastic (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572305)

That means communications companies will soon be able to bring us 1000+ channels of infomercials and the same sports events for just $60 more per month, while at the same time capping our broadband usage at 2GB a month.

It's shifting the frequency. (3, Informative)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572367)

It's shifting the frequency into a shorter wavelength, without going through a chip.

From the article:

    The Cornell team made their time lenses using a silicon waveguide that can channel light. An information-carrying pulse made from a series of
    small laser bursts signalling digital 1s and 0s travels through an optical fibre and into the waveguide. As it enters, it is combined with another
    laser pulse from an infrared laser. The infrared pulse vibrates the atoms of the waveguide, which in turn shifts the frequencies of the
    data-carrying pulse before it exits the waveguide and passes into an optical fibre beyond.

Re:It's shifting the frequency. (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572797)

heh I'm certainly Stoked [wikipedia.org] that this will give us all faster internet.

Ironic (5, Funny)

kitezh (1442937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572373)

When I logged in, I was greeted with "Did you know subscribers can see articles in the future?"

What we all really want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572385)

...How can I hook that shit up to my DeLorean?

MUX? (3, Informative)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572395)

The abstract of the actual article is a little more informative [nature.com] , but still makes strange claims. I think they can compress a 10Ghz electrical signal into a 270GHz optical signal, with obvious ramifications in multiplexing, as you can then take 27 such signals at a time (theoretically).

Re:MUX? (2, Interesting)

32771 (906153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572789)

The following seems a little better:
http://nanophotonics.ece.cornell.edu/Publications/High-resolution%20spectroscopy%20using%20a%20frequency%20magnifier.pdf [cornell.edu]

Don't ask me to explain it, I'm still searching for an easier explanation. If you have any contemporary optics knowledge you should be able to figure it out.

Re:MUX? (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573409)

The following seems less complex.

http://nanophotonics.ece.cornell.edu/Publications/High-speed%20optical%20sampling%20using%20a%20silicon-chip%20temporal%20magnifier.pdf [cornell.edu]

So do they take a snippet of a waveform and stretch it so you can view it with a normal setup?

Seems like the inverse setup they mention in the article. This would ask for parallelization in some way to produce continuous output.

Re:MUX? (1)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572979)

Can you explain this using a chinese finger-cuffs analogy?

Re:MUX? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573255)

The abstract of the actual article is a little more informative, but still makes strange claims. I think they can compress a 10Ghz electrical signal into a 270GHz optical signal, with obvious ramifications in multiplexing, as you can then take 27 such signals at a time (theoretically).

I'm no communications engineer, but I think there's a guy named Shannon who's gonna take issue with some of the claims attached to this story.

Re:MUX? (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573555)

Why should he, the system is exchanging time for bandwidth. You put a snippet of a signal 10GHz wide into the device out comes a signal 1/27th the lenght at 270GHz. If you have an 27 element array of devices that are properly scheduled you can stitch the whole bunch of snippets together at the output just not in frequency but in time. Doesn't really make a difference, you could have used WDM if you just wanted to fill the bandwidth, but there might be other reasons for doing this.

Know what it would be good for? (3, Funny)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572503)

I can think of a myriad of uses ..|||..|.||. eady using it for that.

Ha! (1)

cyberzephyr (705742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572631)

I'll wait and see what happens.

Amazing! (1)

kwolek (1646113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572651)

This new speed will totally revolutionize excuses for online gaming!

Reminds Me of Paycheck (1)

BeaverAndrew (1645577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572655)

This reminds me of the movie Paycheck where they create a "time telescope" to see the future. I was surprised to see the post wasn't about seeing the future/past but rather the future of fiber optics. Certainly, I'm not going to complain if this eventually helps me download movies faster. Maybe at that speed, 2408 picoseconds faster is a big deal, like .1 second is a big deal to a 100m dash runner but irrelevant to a 1600m runner.

Re:Reminds Me of Paycheck (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573117)

Funny, it reminds me of the short story, "Paycheck," by Philip K Dick. What annoyed me most about the movie was that right in the beginning, The Hero reverse-engineers a video display, but then improves on it by making it 3D. So why is this reverse engineering, and why does his wiped need to be wiped? Seems to me that they should've given this guy a huge R+D budget and let him work! But no, they wipe his memory, including the part that knows how to make the new display.

First descibed in 1834 by John Scott Russell (5, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572699)

This is a complete oversell on a normal everyday phenomenon. This is a simple compression of a lightpulse, and has been done for a long time. Dispersion usually smears out a pulse, but can easily, compress the pulse. There is no "bending of time" here. Look up "Chirped pulse amplification" and also "Prism compressor", and maybe "soliton". First descibed in 1834 by John Scott Russell

Re:First descibed in 1834 by John Scott Russell (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29572883)

No kidding. Its such journalist speak I couldn't figure out what it was talking about.

I think the journalist might have been trying to explain group velocity dispersion aka chromatic dispersion. In a nutshell the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, but in any material it varies a wee tiny bit by frequency, and there is no such thing as a truely monochromatic light source, although we can get pretty close. Work arounds for that problem are VERY OLD NEWS but journalists are always so gullible...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_dispersion#Group_and_phase_velocity [wikipedia.org]

Re:First descibed in 1834 by John Scott Russell (4, Interesting)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573565)

This is not at all an oversell (though admittedly bad journalism). It's not the same as chirped pulse amplification or prism compression.

In this case, you start out with an essentially monochromatic long pulse, whose intensity is modulated very slowly compared to the frequency of the light, but as fast as possible using typical telecom electrical modulators. A monochromatic pulse cannot be compressed using a grating or prism. Then the wavelength of the pulse is shifted, with the amount shifted depending on the relative position in the pulse (this is the "time-domain lens"). What you have now is similar to a chirped pulse, which is compressed using a long fiber (I don't know why they don't use prism compression or something else faster here). The time-domain lensing is then undone, "de-chirping" the pulse, leaving you with a much shorter essentially monochromatic pulse at the starting wavelength, with the same amplitude modulation (i.e., carrying the same information).

The point being a huge increase in the amount of information that can be carried in a fiber.

Do you expect me to fall for this bullshit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29572931)

Stop making shit up. Time lens? Are you fucking kidding me?

Lossy compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573029)

It seems that they applied the "time telescope" to compress their years-long research in that one article... ... but it looks like a lot of information got lost, doesn't it?

(Like: how would that differ from already known experiences and methods?)

What happens when you combine them? (4, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573105)

What happens when you take four Time Lenses and align them to be 90 degree angles to each other?

ONE MAN KNOWS THE TRUTH! [timecube.com]

Will it help the internet? (1)

otterpopjunkie (1558913) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573111)

I was under the impression optical data transmission for backbone lines was not limited by the transmission speed of the fiber, but rather the switching ability of both ends of the line to process/re-route the packets. This doesn't seem like something that would help with that. Yeah we can increase bandwith by 2.7X, but can we handle the optical->electronic processing at the other end? Split the line and add more devices I suppose?
And no, I don't have a link to a white paper handy.

Time Lens? Not even close. (0)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573147)

If I read the article correctly, all they are doing is compressing the data on the storage medium (the carrier wave) so they can fit more on it.

Hmm, maybe I should throw out this explanation using some basic ideas.
If your car is 12' long and travels at 100mph, think of that as the standard.
Now what this guy has done is figured out a way to make your car 3' long (while still holding the exact same stuff) and it still only travels at 100mph.
He calls it a "time telescope" because if you paint a finish line on the road, the shorter car arrives at the finish line at the exact same time as the longer car, but it takes it less time to completely cross it because it's shorter...
Yeah, I'm thinking he's an #@&*$ also.

To be nice, maybe it's just somebody with the heart of a marketing weasel trying to make their relatively boring (but potentially important) creation sound exciting...

macGyver.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29573149)

mm now what would macGyver do with this if he only had a few sharks and some lasers?

fuck communications (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573265)

Let's make a time machine with this technology already! :o

Latency? (1)

genericpenguin (318967) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573453)

I could be very wrong but wouldn't shifting the frequency increase the latency of the signal since the original wavefront will be delayed to allow for the compression to happen? Maybe it wouldn't be a great shift (and so not really matter) but I was curious. Anyone with expertise in field care to comment?

I don't care! (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29573579)

Where's my goddamn flying car???

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