Twisted Light: 85,000 Times Faster Than Broadband

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Science, Technology

optical-vortex

We’re sharing and collaborating at a rate unsurpassed in human history. Pictures, videos, research and news is being transported at blistering speeds from one corner of the globe to another. What if we could transmit data 85,000 times faster than we are today?

That idea won’t seem so farfetched if you examine research by scientists in the field of twisted light.

An international team comprised of scientists from the U.S., China, Israel and Pakistan made a huge breakthrough in the future of complex data transmission. By twisting light and spinning it into an ‘optical vortex’, similar to the shape of human DNA, researchers were able to send information at 2.56 terabits per second. That’s enough speed to download 70 DVD’s per second.

twisted light

Beams of light can be twisted in an infinite number of shapes, each storing a unique stream of data. These twisted light beams can also be combined together into one single beam that can be broken down upon arrival. Each time a beam of twisted light is combined, the bandwidth or rate of information that can be transferred at incredible speeds increases.

“You’re able to do things with light that you can’t do with electricity,” says electrical engineer Alan Willner. “That’s the beauty of light; it’s a bunch of photons that can be manipulated in many different ways at very high speed.”

The lightning quick data was transmitted over open space in a lab, and the primary use will be satellite communication in space. The next step for the researchers will be seeing how the technology can translate over to wireless and fiber optics networks for commercial internet use.

Imagine music and videos that instantaneously play in full crisp HD. Imagine video chat or live TV without delay via your computer. That’s the future that this technology possesses.

Nature


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Comments (3)

  • Dennis Krieger

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    I always though 186,000 miles per hour was fast enough to get things transmitted quickly…harnessing and controlling light waves to this extent was just a matter of time…as “demonstrated” by Star Trek’s beaming up and down…kewl stuff!

    Reply

  • Trekkie

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    “Beam me a board, Scottie, Ow!”

    Reply

  • dan

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    light travels at 186,000 miles per SECOND not hour

    Reply

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