Twisted light beams making waves in data transmission technology

13/07/2024 20mins
Shaibana S


Some of the most recent developments in Fibre Optics revealed that the twisted light beams could enhance Internet speeds upto more than 100 times. This is done by detecting light that has been twisted into a spiral. Broadband fibre optics carry information on pulses of light, at the speed of light through optical fibres. But the process of encoding of the pulses at one end and the decoding at the other end affects much of the data speed.

The first of its kind of Nanophotonic device can now encode more data and process more information than the normal optical fibre by using a special form 'Twisted Light', says a research published in the journal 'Nature Communications'. This latest finding can be used in the existing technology and easily be upgraded to boost efficiency significantly.

Fibre optic cables make use of light pulses to transfer information, which stores them as the colour of the light, irrelevant of whether the wave is horizontal or vertical. Twisting light into a spiral enables the creation of third dimension for light to transmit information which is the level of orbital angular momentum or spin. Professor Min Gu from RMIT University, that developed this technology says, "it is like DNA, if you look at the double helix spiral, the more you can use angular momentum the more information you can carry”.

It is a tiny nanophotonic device that has been built for reading twisted light that serves to unlock super-fast broadband communications. New broadband technologies that are under development use oscillations or the shape of the light waves to encode data, increasing the bandwidth by also using the light that cannot be seen. Data is carried on light that has been twisted to increase their capacity. This is otherwise described as light in a state of orbital angular momentum or OAM.

The OAM nano detector acts like an eye that sees the encoded information carried by twisted light and decode it. The materials used in the nanophotonic device are compatible with the silicon based materials used in most of the technologies. The device is low on cost, high on performance and application viable, making it very scalable too.

Researchers say that the detector can also be used to receive quantum information sent through the twisted fibres. This leaves scope for applications in a whole range of quantum communications and research.

Though the researchers from the US has created a fibre that twisted light, it is the first time that a small sized detector was created that can also read the information it carries. The detectors made before this were the size of a dining table but the new one is just the size of the width of a human hair, claims Min Gu. He says that a chip could be developed to detect this twisting and be displayed for mobile action as well.


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