Spiral light modelling puts new spin on fibre optics

With demands on networks supplying data rapidly increasing, squeezing enough info down the optical fibre tubes can be difficult.  But now a group of scientists reckon that they have come with a method to fit extra bandwidth for streaming even more Justin Bieber videos across the planet.

Researchers at the Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers think the answer is putting light usually left idle to good use.  They achieved this by spiralling the light that sends information in fibre optic cables.

It comes down to detecting light in different channels.  While it is possible to detect light in the ‘ground channel’, the scientists look to other channels through which it’s possible to funnel light into more complex ones.

Up until now these multiple channels were unable to be mapped or controlled using conventional methods, with a model known as the Poincare Sphere.

This involved a globe-shaped mapping model for simple light, with the peaks and through waves measured in a similar way to using longitude or latitude on a globe.

Complex light, on the other hand, moves with both a spin and orbital angular momentum, much like the moon revolves on its axis while it circles the earth.

This swirling light twists like a tornado, taking the form of vector beams and vortices.  An extended Higher Order Poincare Sphere (HOPS) is then used to analyse what could be reams of mathematic equations to something much simpler.

By understanding the workings of this complex light, the scientists have opened up the doors to some interesting applications.  Quantum computing is just one of the areas where the technology could see some action.

In addition to this, the complexity of computer cryptography could be increased massively.