Ultra-Fast Wi-Fi In The Making: SEAS Team Develops New Laser Radio Transmitter

When you look at all the developments in technology from the past years, you realize that the future is now. A team of researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have found a way to increase the capacity of the wireless links.

Considering the need for cellular data and the high Wi-Fi traffic, this is a breakthrough in Wi-Fi technology.

The team at SEAS found a way to transmit radio frequency wirelessly a lot faster, through a semiconductor laser. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors establish that lasers can be used not just to emit microwaves, but also modulate them and receive radio frequency signals from an external source. In other words, we should get ready for an “ultra-high-speed WiFi.”

In a press release, the senior author of the study, Federico Capasso (SEAS) explains the implications of their research:

“The research opens the door to new types of hybrid electronic-photonic devices and is the first step toward ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi.”

Moving Data At Incredible Speeds, Making Wireless Speed Hundreds of Times Faster

Federico Capasso is the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering. The research team also found a new phenomenon in 2017, adds the press release:

“[…] An infrared frequency comb in a quantum cascade laser could be used to generate terahertz frequencies, the submillimeter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that could move data hundreds of times faster than today’s wireless.”

One year later, the team found out that quantum cascade laser frequency combs were also efficient at encoding information, as it would act as integrated transmitters or receivers.

Laser frequency combs can be used in Wi-Fi technology, explained the first author of the study, Marco Piccardo (a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS):

“If you want to use this device for Wi-Fi, you need to be able to put useful information in the microwave signals and extract that information from the device.”

The team transmitted through the device the song “Volare” by Dean Martin, marking the first time when a laser was used as a radio frequency transmitter.

If this discovery will be used to increase the Wi-Fi speeds, we will see them work hundreds of times faster than today’s wireless internet!

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