Researchers at the George Washington University and University of California, Los Angeles, have actually developed and demonstrated for the very first time a photonic digital to analog converter without leaving the optical domain. Such unique converters can advance next-generation data processing hardware with high importance for information centers, 6G networks, expert system and more.

Existing optical networks, through which the majority of the world’s information is sent, along with many sensing units, need a digital-to-analog conversion, which connects digital systems synergistically to analog elements.

Using a silicon photonic chip platform, Volker J. Sorger, an associate teacher of electrical and computer system engineering at GW, and his coworkers have created a digital-to-analog converter that does not need the signal to be converted in the electrical domain, therefore revealing the prospective to satisfy the need for high data-processing capabilities while acting on optical information, interfacing to digital systems, and carrying out in a compact footprint, with both brief signal hold-up and low power consumption.

“We discovered a method to perfectly bridge the gap that exists between these 2 worlds, analog and digital,” Sorger said. “This device is a crucial stepping stone for next-generation data processing hardware.”

This work was moneyed by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Study (FA9550-19-1-0277) and the Workplace of Navy Research Study (N00014-19-1-2595 of the Electronic Warfare Program).

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