A new development in fibre optics could make internet speeds up to 100 times faster – by detecting light that has been twisted into a spiral.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, can be used to easily upgrade existing networks and significantly boost efficiency, scientists say.
Fibre optic cables use pulses of light to transmit information, but currently information can only be stored through the colour of the light, and whether the wave is horizontal or vertical.
By twisting light into a spiral, engineers effectively create a third dimension for light to carry information: the level of orbital angular momentum, or spin. “It’s like DNA, if you look at the double helix spiral,” said Min Gu from RMIT University. “The more you can use angular momentum the more information you can carry.”