Twisted laser beams may just be the key to unlimited bandwidth in the future—and now a team of scientists has used them to beam data through the air, from one side of Vienna to the other.

We've already seen twisted laser beams transmit data at speeds of over 1.6 terabits per second via fiber-optic cable. But the Italian researchers decided to see if they could achieve something similar through thin air.

Using a special lens, they twisted a green laser beam into 16 patterns, and sent them to a receiver about 2 miles away. Each pulse corresponded to a pixel from a grey-scale image, which were then reconstructed at the other end. It worked!


It's not, admittedly, as fast as sending the same corkscrew lasers though fiber—but the researchers claim that it could be used in the future to send unhackable data all the way to space. Which sounds like a pretty good idea to us. [IOP via Engadget]

Image by Erik Ludwig/Flickr under Creative Commons license