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Information forms the basis of modern technology. To meet the ever-increasing demand for information, means have to be devised for a more efficient and better-equipped technology to intelligibly process data. Advances in photonics have made their impact on each of the four key applications in information processing, i.e., acquisition, transmission, storage and processing of information. The inherent advantages of ultrahigh bandwidth, high speed and low-loss transmission has already established fiber-optics as the backbone of communication technology. However, the optics to electronics inter-conversion at the transmitter and receiver ends severely limits both the speed and bit rate of lightwave communication systems. As the trend towards still faster and higher capacity systems continues, it has become increasingly necessary to perform more and more signal-processing operations in the optical domain itself, i.e., with all-optical components and devices that possess a high bandwidth and can perform parallel processing functions to eliminate the electronic bottleneck.
Date of Publication: March 2011