Increasing demands for multimedia information in a networked society require an optical fiber communication system with ultrahigh transmission capacity at all times. To increase the transmission capacity of optical fiber communication systems, much research effort has been made on time division multiplexing (TDM) and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). Certainly, the main target for a multimedia society is ultrahigh-speed transmission of high-resolution image signals. To realize this goal with the current communication infrastructure, it will be necessary to develop all-optical processors for transmitters and receivers that can make good use of the ultrahigh bandwidth of the optical fiber communication network - which is unattainable in present electronic devices and systems. As of November 2001, the best data on the transmission capacity of the primary optical communication line was 2.4 Tb/s with DWDM consisting of 240 wavelengths modulated at 10 Gb/s per wavelength for 7600-km transmission.
Recently, ultrashort-pulse laser technology has advanced rapidly and been applied to various fields. It would be desirable to apply the unique property - ultrahigh bandwidth of ultrashort laser pulses - with the ultrahigh bandwidth of optical fiber communication channels.
In applying this unique property of ultrashort laser pulses, we consider a new system called ULTIMATE for the ultrafast optical time-to-2D-space to time-to-2D-space conversion. This system can perform ultrafast conversion among image signals and time sequential ones. The techniques considered will be useful not only for ultrafast image conversion and transmission but also for measurement of the transition process in ultrafast optical phenomena. A new technique for ultrafast optical routing will also be presented.
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