ananyo writes "Twisty beams of light could boost the traffic-carrying capacity of the Internet, effectively adding new levels to the information superhighway, suggests new research. In the last few years, different groups of researchers have tried to encode information in the shape of light beams to ease congestion, using a property of light called orbital angular momentum. Currently, a straight beam of light is used to transmit Internet signals, but certain filters can twist it so that it corkscrews around with varying degrees of curliness as it travels. Previous experiments using this effect have found that differently shaped light beams tend to jumble together after less than a meter. Now, a team of researchers from Boston University in Massachusetts and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has found a way to keep the different light beam shapes separated for a record 1.1 kilometers. The most imminent use of the cables, the authors say, might be to install them to span the short distances between servers on giant 'server farms', used by large Web companies such as Facebook."
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