British Researchers Advance Toward Cable-Free Optical Broadband

British scientists have contributed to what they call a significant advance toward wireless optical broadband that would have a much higher capacity than today’s fibre-optic cables.

Credit: University of Glasgow

A team based in the UK, Germany, New Zealand and Canada carried out tests of a technique that involves ‘twisting’ photons by passing them through a hologram, giving them what’s called optical angular momentum.

The number of twists in the photons can be used to represent information in addition to the ones and zeroes carried by current optical networks, potentially meaning much higher bandwidth.

The technique can be used to transmit photons over cables, but the researchers investigated wireless techniques, which pose additional difficulties from interference.

Free-space optics

They examined the effects of turbulent air in a free-space link in Erlangen, Germany, that was 1.6km in length and passed over fields and streets.

The study’s thorough investigation of the effects of turbulent air on structured light is an important step toward making commercial systems viable, said Dr. Martin Lavery, head of the Structured Photonics Research Group at the University of Glasgow.

Lavery, lead author on the team’s paper, published in the journal Science Advances, said free space optical broadband could provide the bandwidth of fibre, without the requirement for physical cabling, making it ideal for developing countries, defence systems and high-density urban environments.

“In an age where our global data consumption is growing at an exponential rate, there is mounting pressure to discover new methods of information-carrying,” he stated. “This study takes vital steps forward in the journey towards high dimensional free space optics that can be a cheaper, more accessible alternative to buried fibre-optic connections.”

He said the findings would allow scientists to rethink approaches to channel modelling in adaptive optical systems.

Researchers participated from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and Institute of Optics and the Universities of Otago, Ottawa and Rochester.

Do you know all about broadband and the ultra-fast future? Try our quiz!

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Recent Posts

DeepMind Co-Founder Suleyman Departs For Investment Firm

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman leaves parent company Google for Silicon Valley venture capital firm after…

5 hours ago

US Legislation To Boost Chip Funding Set For House

US House of Representatives set to introduce bill on tech funding and domestic chip manufacturing,…

6 hours ago

Intel Says Ohio Site Could Become World’s Biggest Chip Plant

Intel chooses Ohio site for manufacturing investment that could grow to $100bn over ten years,…

6 hours ago

Digital Bank Chime Financial Plans Massive IPO

Chime Financial plans New York IPO worth up to $40bn after Covid-19 pandemic leads to…

7 hours ago

Twitter Shake-Up Sees Departure Of Top Security Staff

Twitter says head of security no longer at company and chief information security officer to…

7 hours ago

Google Asks Judge To Dismiss Most Of Texas Antitrust Case

Google asks federal judge to dismiss most counts of antitrust case filed by Texas and…

8 hours ago