Fibre optic cables comprise of small tubes as thin as a human hair which are reflective on the inside. Information is transferred by sending flashes or pulses of coloured light, at the speed of light, through the tubes which bounce off the reflective walls and along the cable. Broadband fibre-optics thus carry information on pulses of light. The flashes of data are then received and interpreted at the other end. But the way the light is encoded at one end and processed at the other affects data speeds.
Only a fraction of light’s actual capacity of carrying data on the colour spectrum is currently used in fibre-optic communications. Advanced technology was developed to increase bandwidth by using the oscillation, or shape, of light waves invisible to the human eye.
A group of researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), based in Melbourne, Australia claim that they have found a way to decode twisted light. Fibre optic cables currently use visible light that travels either horizontally or vertically. A spiral method of twisting light creates a third dimension less restrictive than previous methods and will allow far more data to be transmitted through the cables.
This pioneering new technology will allow super-fast Internet by harnessing twisted light beams to carry more data and process it faster. This latest technology, at the cutting edge of optical communications, carries data on light waves that have been twisted into a spiral, known as light in a state of orbital angular momentum, or OAM to increase their capacity.
This method uses light waves that have been twisted into a spiral to increase the level of ‘orbital angular momentum’ (OAM), or spin. RMIT researchers claim that the method could be applied to existing telecommunications networks and significantly enhance efficiency. Consequently, by harnessing twisted light beams, fibre optic broadband will carry more data, process it more proficiently and become 100 times faster than current broadband speeds.