Streams of data can now be transmitted extremely fast through light. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
A team of international scientists led by USC have discovered a new way to transmit data. More specifically, they have twisted beams of light to transmit data at ultra-high speeds and at a bandwidth of 2.56 terabits per second. The technique opens up countless possibilities for communication.
In case you're wondering, current broadband usually supports to around 30 megabits per second. That means that this new method is about 85,000 times faster.
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According to IT consultant Bill St. Arnaud, this OAM technology is a game-changer across many fields.
"It's one of those fundamental new technologies that will have an impact across a whole range of fields. It's like the discovery of electricity."
The team used "phase holograms" to twist and manipulate up to eight beams of light into a DNA-like helical shape. Each beam of light can be encoded with a 0 or 1, and acts much like the separate channels on a radio do. They tested the beam's data capabilities by transmitting it through an open space in a lab designed to simulate the environment through which satellites communicate.
"You're able to do things with light that you can't do with electricity," said co-author of the paper Alan Willner, an electrical engineering professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
"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 technology could be implemented in space communication, and could even be used through existing fiber optic cables to provide incredibly fast data streams