An electrical engineer from Purdue University claims that his team has developed the first all-optical method of generating ultrawideband signals. The future of UWB communications is bright, promising everything from high-speed wireless communications to automobile collision avoidance to personal-area networks to ground-penetrating radar to imaging systems that can see through walls. Spurred by the promise of such applications, researchers are hard at work on the Federal Communications Commission's UWB slot from radio frequency (RF) 3.1 to 10.6 GHz. A Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) professor claims to have brought commercial UWB one step closer by shaping the UWB signal within an all-optical modulator. "Our enabling tool is optical pulse shaping," said Purdue visiting EE professor Jason McKinney. "You simply cannot create our waveforms electronically-certainly not programmatically." McKinney said he is building on the previous work of his co-researcher at Purdue, EE professor Andrew Weiner, who perfected the method used here to shape the optical spectrum. Ingrid Lin, a Purdue doctoral student, also contributed to the work.