Just as we all were perhaps wondering, had WiFi technology hit a roof? Japanese firm ROHM announced the successful creation of a new Terahertz-range radio transmitter.
Perhaps radio is a strong term though, Terahertz frequencies are electromagnetic waves that oscillate (vibrate) 1,000,000,000,000 times per second, far beyond what we typically associate with the radio spectrum, they dance in the area officially termed Far Infra-red (FIR), one relatively untapped and unexplored by science due to the difficulties in reliably generating and sensing waves in this frequency range.
However, researchers at ROHM in partnership with Osaka University have successfully developed a tiny new transmitter, 1.5 x 3mm in size, that, utilising resonant tunnelling diode technology, transmits at 300GHz (0.3THz), achieving 1.5Gbps transfer rates. Already competing on the level of Gigabit Ethernet, this device is an early work and the team believes that they can scale performance up to 30Gbps in the future. Another advantage the researchers are suggesting is that as this frequency range is relatively free, less complex modulation sequences will be required in many scenarios, resulting in low-power transmission.
Real-life usage of this electromagnetic range remains to be seen, with the technology having some less desirable properties typical of visible light, such as being easily blocked by metal or other dense objects. No doubt stringent safety checks will also hold-up application of the technology into the commercial space for quite some time. Having said that, if this technology does enter the home of the average Joe, wireless streaming of 4k cinema-quality video will no longer be but a dream and already researchers have production costs down to a few hundred yen, a couple of pounds.