||Chip Makes Twisted Light for Communications
Today’s optical-fiber communication systems use different wavelengths of laser light to squeeze multiple channels of data through the same “light pipe” simultaneously. Now a group of British and Chinese researchers have figured out how to capitalize on another way to manipulate light. They’ve made a microchip capable of emitting laser beams whose photons have a peculiar property known as orbital, or twisted, angular momentum. Because each wavelength could carry an infinite number of values of orbital angular momentum, this “twisted light” is expected to dramatically speed up data-transfer rates. Researchers have already sent data at speeds up to 2.5 terabits per second using gadgets that take advantage of this physical phenomenon.
That’s a very smart way to expend current optical-fiber communication systems.