Cable-less fiber optic design creates connections out of thin air

Radio waves work without cables. So do cell phones and wifi. However we still need wires to transmit light or electricity. That may change. The first experiments with wireless power transmission are being done and now researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a fiber optic laser that transmits light signals without the need for cables. The special laser is split into a ring of numerous beams making an optical pipe through thin air. This split beam quickly heats the air molecules it passes through. Researchers then used another laser to spark plasma at one end of the beam and found that an optical signal created by the plasma travelled through the first laser, even though it was made essentially out of thin air. This discovery, still in proof of concept, could have a large impact on everything from Internet connectivity, to remote data collection.

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Cable-less fiber optic design creates connections out of thin air

Radio waves work without cables. So do cell phones and wifi. However we still need wires to transmit light or electricity. That may change. The first experiments with wireless power transmission are being done and now researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a fiber optic laser that transmits light signals without the need for cables. The special laser is split into a ring of numerous beams making an optical pipe through thin air. This split beam quickly heats the air molecules it passes through. Researchers then used another laser to spark plasma at one end of the beam and found that an optical signal created by the plasma travelled through the first laser, even though it was made essentially out of thin air. This discovery, still in proof of concept, could have a large impact on everything from Internet connectivity, to remote data collection.

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