If you are old enough to remember criticizing the internet on a dial-up modem, then you are fully aware of the significance of leap for broadband makes a difference of day and night, contingent to the connection. Similarly, the researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) claim to have innovated a nano-sized device that may potentially turn the internet 100 times faster than it is now.
The secret to this potential revolution lies in twisting light. The current fiber optic cables emit pulses of light via optical fibers. This is how data transferring from one location to another in broadband network works. Although it is fast, there are some snags. As carried out today, fiber optics only utilize a small fraction of the light’s utmost capacity by transmitting data on the color band.
John Davidson at Australian Financial Reviews unscrambles the technology down quite nicely, elaborating that each color of light contains a stream of data. Therefore, the fiber optics leveraging blue, green, and red light offers triple the bandwidth as compared to a fiber optic that controls a single color. Additionally, to increase the bandwidth a notch more, the light waves function on the different level surface.
Twisted lights break the bank by intercepting into a quantum property known as the Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) of light. OAM is a measurement of how the light twists, likewise to how DNA twists in a double-helix. The twists allow even more information to be carried.
The notion of twisted light is not new-fangled though the reading data has proven cumbersome.
Dr Haoran Ren, co-author of a paper that was recently published in the Nature Communications said, “Our miniature OAM nano-electronic detector is designed to separate different OAM light states in a continuous order and to decode the information carried by twisted light. To do this previously would require a machine the size of a table, which is completely impractical for telecommunications. By using ultrathin topological nanosheets measuring a fraction of a millimeter, our invention does this job better and fits on the end of an optical fiber.”
A colleague of Dr Haoran Ren who has co-authored the paper, Professor Min Gu explains the device’s cost, size, and performance makes the device practical for future broadband dispositions.
Gu said, “Our OAM nano-electronic detector is like an ‘eye’ that can ‘see’ information carried by twisted light and decode it to be understood by electronics. This technology’s high performance, low cost and tiny size make it a viable application for the next generation of broadband optical communications.”
He further elaborated, “It fits the scale of existing fiber technology and could be applied to increase the bandwidth, or potentially the processing speed, of that fiber by over 100 times within the next couple of years. This easy scalability and the massive impact it will have on telecommunications is what’s so exciting.”
Although there are certain obstacles to prevail over. The Australian broadband network was put into service with fiber optic cable as a focal point in the neighborhood. Copper wires from there them connect the nodes to each household. However, for the twisted light technology to be serviceable, fiber optic cables need to be proffered directly into homes i.e. fiber to the homes instead of fiber to the homes via node.