Optical Society honors researcher

ATLANTA - Bell Labs scientist Andrew Chraplyvy, a pioneer in the development of high-capacity optical fiber communications systems, on March 25 received the Optical Society of America's 2003 John Tyndall Award during the international Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) conference, which is taking place here this week.

Dr. Chraplyvy is director of the lightwave systems research department at Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies.

The award, co-sponsored by the Optical Society of America and the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, is named for the 19th century British scientist who first demonstrated the phenomenon of total internal reflection. It recognizes individuals who have made significant or continuing technical or leadership contributions to fiber-optics technology.

Dr. Chraplyvy was honored for "pioneering research on optical fiber non-linearities and their dispersion management, and leading wavelength-division-multiplexed fiber transmission systems beyond terabit/second capacities."

Optical fiber is used in communications systems to carry voice signals, data and images encoded as pulses of laser light. In their quest to improve efficiency, engineers have come up with different techniques to send information over fiber. One powerful technique is dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), which was pioneered at Bell Labs in the 1980s and 1990s. DWDM makes it possible to send multiple streams of information down the same optical fiber by encoding the separate streams of information in separate wavelengths, or colors, of light.

However, the physical properties of glass make light transmitted over long lengths of fiber susceptible to degradation. For example, the speed of a light signal traveling through fiber depends on the intensity of the light and is not a constant as it would be in free space; physicists refer to this behavior as a "non-linear" response. These non-linear effects cause part of a signal traveling through the fiber to turn into noise. Understanding and suppressing undesirable noise while boosting the desired signal is key to building a high-capacity, long-haul optical communications system.

Dr. Chraplyvy recently used his expertise with DWDM and high-speed optical transmission to contribute to the development of Lucent's LambdaXtreme Transport optical networking system, which can transmit enormous amounts of information across continents very economically.

In the 1990s, Dr. Chraplyvy also helped develop the world's first non-zero dispersion fiber (NZDF) to meet the demands of long distance service providers for increased bandwidth, and to fully support the rapidly advancing technologies in optically amplified, high bit rate DWDM transmission systems. NZDF technology allows engineers to optimize dispersion - the "spreading" of a sharply defined optical pulse as it travels down a fiber - in a manner that enables high bit rate transmission; a total suppression of dispersion is not desirable for DWDM systems.

Dr. Chraplyvy joined Bell Labs in 1980 after receiving an undergraduate degree in physics from Washington University in St. Louis, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Cornell University. He is a Bell Labs Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and a member of the IEEE.

Bell Labs is the leading source of new communications technologies. It has generated more than 30,000 patents since 1925 and has played a pivotal role in inventing or perfecting key communications technologies, including transistors, digital networking and signal processing, lasers and fiber-optic communications systems, communications satellites, cellular telephony, electronic switching of calls, touch-tone dialing and modems. Bell Labs scientists have received six Nobel Prizes in Physics, nine National Medals of Science and seven National Medals of Technology.

Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., designs and delivers networks for the world's largest communications service providers. Backed by Bell Labs research and development, Lucent relies on its strengths in mobility, optical, data and voice networking technologies as well as software and services to develop next-generation networks.

Dr. Chraplyvy is a member of the Ukrainian National Association Branch 27.

Notes on people is a feature geared toward reporting on the achievements of members of the Ukrainian National Association. All submissions should be concise due to space limitations and must include the person's UNA branch number. Items will be published as soon as possible after their receipt, when space permits.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, April 27, 2003, No. 17, Vol. LXXI

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