Fiber optic cables operate in a vacuum

A team of scientists from England has developed a fiber optic cable that allows for carrying data at virtually 100%of the vacuum-speed of light. They have succeeded to perform it by producing a fiber cable with a hollow core and special inner walls that prevent refraction.

To be more precise, standard fiber optic cables enable to transmit data at the speed of light (300.000.000 meters per second in a vacuum) so they transmit a laser beam light. Nevertheless, in practice, data is transmitted slower than that because of such factors as latency delays aroused by refraction level as laser beam light goes through the optical fiber that decreases usual fiber cable data rate throughput by 30%.

The solution to the problem supposes the replacement of the optical fiber core with air that is less exposed to the refraction. The challenging moment is “how to get the light beams moving through the fiber optic cables to follow the cable when bends and turns are encountered.”

Therefore, the team has developed a new technique to produce a hollow-core fiber cable that enables them to bend laser beam light as it goes around turns while decreasing loss because of the refraction parameter. The main element is considered to be an “ultra-thin photonic-bandgap rim” that offers a low level of data loss, wide bandwidth, and less latency delay than conventions fiber optic cables.

Finally, a fiber cable has been created in the lab, and it transmits data applying division multiplexing, at a rate of 73.7 terabits per second, herewith, this parameter is regarded as virtually 1000 times better than conventional fiber optic cable. It should be noted that new cables provide the following advantages:

  • high level of bandwidth;
  • fast speed of transmission;
  • longer distances;
  • high robustness;
  • great flexibility;
  • low cost.

Even though data loss is regarded as pretty low, it is still too high for application with any fields except for short-hop applications, for instance, optical fiber connections inside of supercomputers or data centers where fiber optic cables are installed in extremely straight lines.

Thus, the team continues improving the fiber cable, and then there would be the end of waiting when downloading data, and new applications would appear, for example, real-time ultra high definition 3D transmissions, possible for general applications across the Internet.

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