This could be to fiber-optic speeds what 5G is to 4G speeds.
Fiber-optic cables currently use two-dimensional pulses of light to transmit information, with the color of the light and its horizontal or vertical orientation being the only ways in which information can be stored. A team at RMIT University, however, has developed a method of twisting that light to make it three-dimensional, and therefore capable of carrying a lot more information in each pulse.
“It’s like DNA, if you look at the double helix spiral,” RMIT University’s Min Gu told The Guardian. “The more you can use angular momentum the more information you can carry.”
This isn’t the first time that light-twisting fiber has been built — researchers in the U.S. previously achieved this feat. The breakthrough in this case is the device that detects that twist. Previous iterations were highly impractical because they were so large (no one wants a smartphone the size of a dinner table). This detector, however, is just the width of a human hair, meaning it could be easily integrated into a chip inside a device.