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Researchers Prove Twisted-Fiber Communications Works

An international team of researchers has proven that twisted light can indeed increase data rates in optical fibers but only on a new type of fiber. The concept had been previously demonstrated in free space, but not in fiber. The researchers—from Boston University, University of Southern California, Tel Aviv University, and Danish fiber company OFS-Fitel—report they achieved rates of 1.6 terabits per second over a distance of 1 km  of a newly designed optical fiber. The optical communication technology uses a corkscrew-shaped light that allows more data to be sent by encoding more data in the light’s twists. The method does not work using standard fiber because the twisted light loses the ability to send data, but the team created a new design incorporating different chemicals into each concentric ring of fiber. This changes the speed at which the light travels in each ring, thereby creating different pathways for the various twisted light beams, each of which functions as a channel. This means a single fiber can achieve data multiplexing. The approach might be first used in new or upgraded datacenters, which could install the new fiber easily. It cannot work on existing fiber networks such as submarine telecommunications cables. The researchers published their work in Science. (BBC)(Science)

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