Wednesday, April 9, 2008


The innovation of Prof David Payne, Dr Emmanuel Desurvire and Dr Randy Giles, has transformed global telecommunications, particularly the world of high-speed and long-distance communication.

Amplifiers are need to boost degraded light signals as they travel through the fibre.

The EDFA eliminated a key problem of amplification in the 1980s, namely the need to convert the light into an electrical signal and then resend with a new laser.

The work or Desurvire, Giles and Payne reduced the cost of creating long-distance fibre-optic networks and "unleashed" the bandwidth of long-distance fibre-optics networks.

The EDFA has led to the rapid rise of the global net, impacting business, education and leisure for billions of people.

The breakthrough of the three scientists was to use the heavy element erbium, which was perfect for amplifying the signal of light used in fibre optic networks.

The first commercial application of the EDFA was in underwater communication cables. The amplifiers sit inside torpedo-like repeaters that are placed in cable every 500km to 800km.

The introduction of these amplifiers led to the depression of the communication satellite markets.

EFDAs are now found in fibre optic networks around the world and the latest amplifiers are the size of a match box.

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