Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL), a Pune-based optical and digital solutions company, has developed a 160-micron optical fibre, which it claims to be the world’s slimmest fibre for telecommunication. This innovation has been conceptualised and developed indigenously at STL’s Centre of Excellence in Maharashtra, making it the first company globally to develop and patent this technology.
How the 160-micron fibre works
The 160-micron fibre is created through a solid-state reaction of lannarcite and copper phosphide. The fibre has no electrical resistance at room temperature and normal pressure, making it a superconductor. The fibre also shows the Meissner effect, which means it can levitate above a magnet. The team has provided a video of the material partially levitating as evidence of its superconductivity.
The benefits of the 160-micron fibre
The 160-micron fibre can pack 3X more capacity than traditional 250-micron fibre, which means it can transmit more data in less space. The fibre can also reduce the deployment time and cost of large-scale projects like Bharatnet, where India needs to deploy ~20 Million fibre km cable by 2025. The fibre can also reduce the plastic footprint in the ground by ~30% by using ducts with a smaller diameter.
The launch and recognition of the 160-micron fibre
The 160-micron fibre was unveiled at the 7th edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2023 by Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology & Railways. He also ‘spliced’ or ‘joined’ two strands of optical fibre, a highly calibrated process of perfectly connecting the cores of two hair-thin optical fibres. The minister praised STL for its innovation and contribution to India’s digital economy.
The challenges and opportunities of the 160-micron fibre
The team’s claims have not been peer reviewed or replicated by other researchers yet. There have been false claims of room temperature superconductors in the past. However, if the claims are true, the 160-micron fibre will be a breakthrough discovery that will transform the fields of electricity and electronics. It will also give India a competitive edge in the global market of optical and digital solutions.