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MIT Reinterprets Coaxial Cable Design

By John Teresko Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, propose a new kind of coaxial cable that may be able to quickly and efficiently transmit light over long distances and around sharp bends while retaining polarization. The cable's inner and outer walls are made of omnidirectionally reflecting multi-layer films. Researchers explain that such structures mimic important properties of traditional metallic coaxial cables, but without their high absorption losses at optical wavelengths. They claim the all-dielectric cable design successfully bridges, for the first time, the disparate modal regimes of the metallic coaxial cable and the dielectric optical fiber. One possibility: Internet applications. The work is funded by the MIT Center for Materials Science and Engineering through the National Science Foundation, the Dept. of Energy, and the U.S. Army Research Office.

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