You might think your internet service is fine as it is — when it works, of course, which might be rarely if you have certain providers — but what if it could be a hundred times faster? Yeah, that sounds pretty neat right? Well that’s what researchers from Australia are working on right now, having developed a new breakthrough in fiber optics that could pave the way for incredibly speedy surfing.
The research, which was published in Nature Communications, gives fiber optics systems a new way to interpret information by actually twisting light as it travels. This allows the light to carry a lot more data than it already does, which is awesome, and actually implementing such a system might be easier than you’d think.
Fiber optics data networks are quite efficient already, generally outpacing copper-based networks. Fiber optics uses flashes of light to carry information from one spot to another, and speeds can be quite impressive.
Still, traditional fiber optics has some drawbacks. As the Guardian notes, existing networks typically use color and orientation of light patterns as their primary means of relaying information. Since fiber networks are already ahead of the competition in terms of speed, this has never really been much of a problem, but researchers from Australia’s RMIT University think they can do even better.
The new fiber optic system the researchers came up with bends like into a spiral pattern as it travels, effectively adding a new variable that can carry even more data. “It’s like DNA, if you look at the double helix spiral,” Min Gu, co-author of the research, told the Guardian. “The more you can use angular momentum the more information you can carry.”
This new breakthrough is more compact than previous efforts to increase the efficiency of fiber optics and, the researchers claim, could be easily added existing fiber networks to augment their capabilities.
As with everything related to internet service providers, you can expect new technology to be adopted approximately a decade after it’s been render obsolete, so let’s all look forward to ultra-high-speed fiber internet sometime around 2040.
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It’s often said that we know less about what is hiding in Earth’s oceans than we do about what lurks in the depths of space. While that might be hyperbole, a new discovery off the coast of Australia certainly lends weight to the argument.
Hidden some 2,000 meters beneath the waves off the east coast of Australia, researchers stumbled upon something they didn’t even know was there: a massive volcano graveyard that they are calling the “Lost World” of extinct underwater volcanos.
The researchers were originally surveying the area to study biological markers but their underwater mapping hardware tipped them off to something else entirely. There on the sea floor, jutting up thousands of meters from the bottom, were several volcanic peaks that had never before been documented.
The volcanos the team spotted have long since died off, and are no longer active or at risk of any kind of volcanic activity, but their towering presence remains. Some of the mountainous features stretch over 16,000 feet above the ocean floor, and many of them are dotted with smaller peaks that hint at volcanic events long ago.
“We’re pretty sure that these seamounts were related to the break up of Australia and Antarctica. It was about 30 million years ago,” Tara Martin, a marine geoscientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “As Australia and Antarctica and Tasmania all broke up, a big hotspot came in under the earth’s crust, made these volcanoes, and then helped the Earth’s crust break so that all of those areas could start to drift apart.”
But it wasn’t just the geological features that the scientists ended up observing. While monitoring the area the team noticed that the large peaks were teeming with life, including dozens of humpback whales that cruised along the now-silent volcanic mounds. The location appears to be “an important signpost on an underwater migratory highway,” for the marine mammals, according to the scientists.