Using noise to increase laser signal

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While noise is usually a bad thing for your signal (hence the ‘signal to noise ratio’ concept) a group of researchers from Belgium, France and Spain have found that adding a tiny dose of noise to a an electrical current can make a smoothly controlled laser where before they had an uncontrolled one. The vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) would be extremely useful in boosting bandwidth if they were reliable (unlike now). They’re not sure why it works – noise ought to generally be a negative deal – but there’s another truism: whatever works, works. [GT]

Controlling Lasers with Chaos

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Gabrielle Taylor