Current technology utilizes the movement of electrons to carry information through many of the things that we take for granted, such as computers and television. In an effort to carry information at a faster rate, we've replaced electricity with beams of light, which move thousands of times faster due to the fact that there is no longer any need to deal with natural resistance caused by wires.
The problem with light is that it cannot easily change direction without it being weakened or distorted, which can cause a loss in the transmitted information. Altering the light's path without such consequences requires a gradual turn, which is inefficient for practical use in today's small devices. However, thanks to researchers at the University of Texas El Paso and the University of Central Florida, advancements in nanotechnology have overcome that hurdle.
The device they use to achieve such a feat is a plastic device smaller than a bee's stinger. It is a lattice structure shaped in such a way that light that enters it can be guided around corners without any loss of energy, allowing for the optical transmission of data in small, possibly handheld, devices.
These kind of components may one day be used in our laptops, cellphones, and other everyday devices that require the transmission of information. For now, the team of researchers that created this device are looking to improve it, seeking a way to make light beams take sharper turns in less space.