Scientists have taken an important step towards using 'twisted' light as a form of wireless, high-capacity data transmission which could make fibre-optics obsolete.
In a new report published on 26th October in the journal Science Advances, a team of physicists based in the UK, Germany, New Zealand and Canada describe how new research into 'optical angular momentum' (OAM) could overcome current difficulties with using twisted light across open spaces.
Scientists can 'twist' photons – individual particles of light – by passing them through a special type of hologram, similar to that on a credit card, giving the photons a twist known as optical angular momentum.
While conventional digital communications use photons as ones and zeroes to carry information, the number of intertwined twists in the photons allows them to carry additional data – something akin to adding letters alongside the ones and zeroes. The ability of twisted photons to carry additional information means that optical angular momentum has the potential to create much higher-bandwidth communications technology.
Link to article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1700552