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'Twisted' vortex beam Wi-Fi transfers data at 2.5Tbps

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Researchers have managed to create a "twisted" beam that can transmit 2.56 terabits of data per second wirelessly.

Flickr twisted light beam
Flickr twisted light beam

Researchers have managed to create a "twisted" radio wave that can transmit 2.56 terabits of data per second wirelessly. Previously it was revealed that beams with different orbital angular momentum (OAM) states — that is, different degrees of spin — could be used to carry more data, and this new milestone builds on that idea. Researchers at the University of Southern California, Tel Aviv University, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory created two sets of four beams, with each set featuring a different kind of OAM twist and each beam carrying a different data stream. The beams were then passed through filters with different polarizations, and were able to eventually reach a speed that's a good deal faster than even the most modern of current Wi-Fi networks. Unfortunately, the experiment only took place across a very short distance — about one meter — but the team believes that there's potential for data transfer over longer distances as the technology develops. "There are also opportunities for long-distance satellite-to-satellite communications in space, where turbulence is not an issue," explains USC's Alan Willner.