Optical fibres form the backbone of today's telecommunication networks. They rely upon total internal reflection to guide light through the fibre. Such fibres require an interior core of high refractive index material surrounded by a sheath with lower refractive index. The fibres are limited to relatively low-power transmission because the optical properties of the material of the fibre change at higher powers. Now, scientists have designed 'vacuum fibre', an optic fibre with a hollow core. This design has a better potential for high-power transmission, and could lead to new innovations in telecommunications ( Science , Vol 285, No 5433).
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