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Future technologies: Optics and the Internet

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  • Communication
  • Education
  • Mathematics


The talk introduces the concept of Optoelectronics, the fusion of optics and electronics which is now absolutely vital to modern communications, in particular the Internet. The basic ideas of the scale of information which the modern world needs to transmit, and the speeds at which we must transmit it, are discussed to introduce the requirements of modern high-bandwidth links. The physical basis of those links, the fibre optics, optical amplifiers and dispersion compensation systems essential to its operation, are introduced at a basic, non-mathematical level. Some of the new developments required by the ever growing thirst for data communications, and approaches to them underway at the University of Southampton, are included in the talk. It is intended to be suitable for students typically in their last two years or schooling pre University, and to non-specialist year University students. It may also be of interest to persons with a general interest in modern IT, and assumes only a general technical background with no specialist knowledge of the subject.

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