Wild lighting is no longer just for discotheques and laser tag – it has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate.
Researchers at the University of Southern California have found that when they combine twisted beams of light, they can transmit data at a startling speed – over 85,000 times faster than standard broadband cable. To put it in perspective, at that speed you could transmit 70 full-length DVDs in a single second.
Light is just a group of photons that the researchers could direct in infinite ways at very high speeds. The study employed beam-twisting “phase holograms” to coax the beams of light into helical shapes as they spread in free space. Each beam, twisted in a unique way, was encoded with “1” or “0” data bits, making each beam an autonomous data stream – much like different radio channels.
The experiment in the lab focused on transmitting data over free space, but the next step is to advance its use in fiber optic cables (like those used to transmit data over the internet).
The earth’s atmosphere prevents us from using this method over long distances, but in the future, it’s possible we’ll see it used for high-speed satellite communications links, short free-space terrestrial links, and even in fiber optic cables for internet service providers.
For more info, check out this article from PCMag.com.