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Tektronix test equipment used in major terahertz multiplexer pilot

January 3, 2018  

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Measurement vendor Tektronix today announced that its instruments played an important role in a technology demonstration that it said could one day enable the next generation of ultra-high bandwidth wireless communications links.

In an article published in the journal Nature Communications, an international research team reported the first transmission of two real-time video signals through a terahertz (THz) multiplexer at an aggregate data rate of 50 gigabits per second, some 100 times faster than cellular networks.

“With demand for wireless data transmission speeds and capacities growing beyond what microwave signals can carry, the search is on for ways to use higher frequency THz waves that have a much larger capacity to carry data,” the company said.

“One of the teams leading the way is an international collaboration between Brown University and the Institut d’Electronique de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN), CNRS/University of Lille, in France.”

This team has previously shown that the worlds of fiber optics and radio can be bridged using photonic-based THz circuits to achieve high-data rates. However, for any system to be viable, a system for multiplexing and demultiplexing (mux/demux) signals is a fundamental requirement. Using a waveguide system involving two metal plates in parallel, the researchers encoded two high-definition television broadcasts onto terahertz waves of two different frequencies: 264.7 GHz and 322.5 GHz. They then sent both frequencies together into the multiplexer system, with a television receiver set to detect the signals as they emerged from the device. Further experiments show that this system could deliver data rates up to 50 Gb/s with low error rates.

“What this demonstration definitely showed is that a THz multiplexing system can be used to carry actual data without the streams interfering with each other,” said Guillaume Ducournau, an assistant professor at IEMN.

“With support from Tektronix, we were able to fully test and characterize our system and the results show that this approach could lead to future commercial application of THz wireless networks.”

Dean Miles, market development manager in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Tektronix added that the bridging of fiber optics and radio technologies using photonic-based THz circuits to achieve high-data rates is an area of continuous innovation and this is another example of how test and measurement enables innovation.”