The filter's tuning span, which is a measure of how well the device can adjust to fluctuating data demands, is the widest ever demonstrated on a silicon chip. Additionally, the device has an unlimited free-spectral range, meaning it can operate over any range of frequencies.

According to researchers, the path toward a faster internet has been hindered by energy consumption and cost per optical component."Compared to traditional networks, the flexible networks higher data volumes per optical carrier and throughout the entire spectrum," said Wei Shi, assistant professor at University Laval in Quebec in Canada.

The new filter should save both money and energy because it can be readily integrated onto a photonic chip, he added."The most exciting aspect is that these record-breaking results were achieved on the silicon photonic platform," Shi noted.

This indicates that the filter can be readily integrated with other well developed components for a novel integrated system. The optical spectrum is a limited resource, as internet traffic has increased dramatically, bandwidth has become more precious.

The paper appeared in the journal Optics Letters.