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Researchers twist lasers to beam data across Vienna

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Twisted laser beams have been used to send up to 2.5 terabits per second of data over fiber-optic cables, but the technique has never been worked very well over the air. Researchers in Vienna managed to use those bizarro quantum laser properties, also known as orbital angular momentum (OAM), to beam wireless data. Using a special lens, they twisted a green laser beam into 16 patterns, and transmitted it to a receiver about 2 miles away. The pulses corresponded to pixels from grey-scale images, which were reassembled using a special camera at the other end. Though it took awhile for the pixelated images to arrive (see the video below), the researchers think it could one day be used to send unhackable data all the way to space.

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