Fibre-optic recieves a twist
Researchers from the University of California in collaboration with their Israel, China and Pakistani counterparts have succeeded in using ‘twisted-beam phase-holography’ to create the world’s fastest wireless data transmission feed. How fast might you be asking? 2.56 terabits per-second, which translates to downloading roughly 66DVD’s every second. Conventional fiber-optics for internet (or any other data stream) usage relies on using a pulse of light (electromagnetic carrier wave) at a specific frequency to transmit data which is often limited to a fixed speed.
Twisted-beam technology essentially takes those light pulses and splits them into separate strands of fiber-optics where it spirals (morphs) the light. To accomplish their goal the team combined the twisted-beam concept and combined it with phase-modulation holography which changes the refraction index of the fiber material in proportion to the photon interference pattern. This is essentially a ‘phase-grating’ which takes the original reference beams and reconstructs the lights wave fronts at an end-point i.e.: taking all of the data streams and reconstructing them at one focal point. Eight separate fibers were twisted (known as OAM or Orbital Angular Momentum) separately into a helix shape, akin to human DNA strands, with each being encoded into 1’s or 0’s which makes them a altogether separate data stream from one another.
The team demonstrated the system and was successful at transmitting a data stream through open-space (about one meter) where they achieved the astounding speed. Sure, the distance traveled isn’t that spectacular but it does pave the road to future wireless technology that would allow mobile platforms the ability to send and receive huge amounts of data every second. However, as it stands now, the team is looking to implement their system for military and commercial satellites as a way to transmit large amounts of data with each other over vast distances.