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Amplifier ticks at 1,000,000,000,000 Hz! World Record

DARPA has announced the first amplifier achieving a speed of 1THz, a world record. Indeed, Officials from Guiness World Records have recognised the DARPA amplifier as the fastest and the first to reach the 1THz barrier.
Notice that this "speed" is 20 times faster than the one normally used in today’s most advanced electronics to modulate signals for optical network transmission.

This amplifier has been developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation and it has shown a nine decibel of gain, something never reached before.

The capability of amplifying signals at these frequencies open up the gate to application in the area of anticollision systems (read self driving cars), detection of dangerous substances, like explosives, and much faster communication networks.

Indeed, today electrical signals are converted into optical signals using modulators at 40 GHz, even though the optical fiber can modulate signals at “optical” speed, that is in the THz range. What we do today is to use several electrical to optical converters and send signals with different wavelengths over the fiber (what is called WDM – Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or DWDM – Dense WDM, when we have many signals modulated at the same time) since we have this limitation on the electrical part. BY being able to modulate electrical signals in the THz range we can multiply the, already gigantic, capacity of our communication links.

It is likely that this result will first find application in the military domain (and Grumman is a major provider of the US military) but as it happened to several other technologies it will make the jump into civil applications for us all to benefit!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.