Science 3 min read

Accomplished Today: Faster-Than-Fiber-Optic Terahertz Communication

Panasonic at CES Las Vegas 2017 | Kobby Dagan |

Panasonic at CES Las Vegas 2017 | Kobby Dagan |

The Terahertz spectrum promises incredible data rates for wireless communication that exceeds fiber optic capabilities. Today, a research group from Japan recently announced that they succeeded in developing a terahertz transmitter that reached a speed of 100 gigabits per second over a single 300 GHz channel.

#Panasonic and #HiroshimaUniversity recently sent 100gb/s via #terahertz Click To Tweet

The Terahertz Spectrum, a Solution for the Future

The length between infrared and microwave radiations, T-rays are currently used in medical examinations and airports (screening of passengers) because of their highly penetrative properties.

With a frequency range from 0.3 to 3 THz, they remained, until recently, unexploited for communications due to a lack of simple, cheap and efficient THz generators.

Today, February 6th, researchers from the Panasonic Corporation and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (Hiroshima University), developed a THz transmitter data at a staggering rate of 100 Gbps over a single channel of 300 GHz. The results will be presented in detail at the ISSCC 2017 (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) that will be held from Feb 5 – 9 in San Francisco, CA.

Using Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) in the 300 GHz band last year, the same team greatly improved the communication speed of the CMOS radio transmitter. This time, they beat their own record with data rates six times higher than last year, achieving transmission speed exceeding 100 Gbps per channel. At this data rate, you can transfer a 0.1 terabit file before you can say the word ‘it!’

The new World of THz Communication

This technology enables speed ten times or more than that of the coming 5G mobile networks, expected to arrive around 2020.

The research group explained that results showed that high-speed wireless communication in the terahertz band approached the terabit per second capacity comparable to fiber optic cabling used in current communication network infrastructure.

“We usually talk about wireless data rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second.” said Prof. Minoru Fujishima from Hiroshima University, “But we are now approaching terabits per second using a single communication channel.”

Take a deep breath: harnessing the terahertz wave will mean a super high-speed link to communication satellites, faster content download from servers to the mobile terminal, communication between base stations of mobile networks, improved use in applications requiring real-time quality communication (like in orbit), and quick exchange of 3D videos in high definition.

For more than half a century, space communications have been relying on radio waves, a mature and reliable technology that has reached its limits.

With data volumes expected to increase enormously in the near future, T-Rays offer a better alternative.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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