Increasing Data Transfer with Twisted Light
by Hu Yoshida on Oct 31, 2012
I just received this IEEE Spectrum alert on twisted light. As the alert notes, a group of British and Chinese researchers have developed a microchip that is capable of emitting photons with a property known as orbital or angular momentum. Each wavelength can carry an infinite number of values of orbital angular momentum, so this ”twisted” light could dramatically increase data transfer rates over optical fiber communications links. Researchers have already sent data at speeds of up to 2.5 terabits per second.
This news comes as Google is rolling out its 1Gbps service in the Kansas City “fiberhoods” with internet as well as Google Fiber TV. It allows users to download 500 hours of HD television content and record up to 8 channels simultaneously. This development by Google and the new announcement of “twisted” light will have a profound impact on distributed data centers and on cloud services in the not too distant future.
Where growth in bandwidth innovation has been trailing compute and storage, these innovations will help to close the gap.