Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

Laser frequency combs may be the future of WiFi

WiFi and cellular data traffic are increasing exponentially but, unless the capacity of wireless links can be increased, all that traffic is bound to lead to unacceptable bottlenecks. Upcoming 5G networks are a temporary fix but not a long-term solution. For that, researchers have focused on terahertz frequencies, the submillimeter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Data traveling at terahertz frequencies could move hundreds of times faster than today's wireless. In 2017, researchers discovered that an infrared frequency comb in a quantum cascade laser could offer a new way to generate terahertz frequencies. Now, those researchers have uncovered a new phenomenon of quantum cascade laser frequency combs, which would allow these devices to act as integrated transmitters or receivers that can efficiently encode information. This work represents a complete paradigm shift for the way a laser can be operated. Frequency combs are widely used, high-precision tools for measuring and detecting different frequencies -- a.k.a. colors -- of light. Unlike conventional lasers, which emit a single frequency, these lasers emit multiple frequencies simultaneously, evenly spaced to resemble the teeth of a comb. Today, optical frequency combs are used for everything from measuring the fingerprints of specific molecules to detecting distant exoplanets.

Visit Website | Image credit: Jared Sisler/Harvard University