Broadband: Scientists create fibre optic cables from wood

Last updated at 13:09
Fibre-optic-cable.VTT
Light travelling through the wood-based fibre.

Scientists in Finland have created a new type of fibre optic cable out of wood-based fibres.

Fibre optic cables are used for much of the world's internet. They carry information using light, and these new fibres are made of plant cells which means they break down, or biodegrade, when they are thrown away.

They're different to traditional fibre optic - made out of glass or plastic - which doesn't biodegrade.

Fibre optic cables carry data super fast so they are used for things like cable television and telephone systems as well as internet connection.

The cables usually contain long thin threads of either glass or plastic that send pulses of light for miles.

But it could be a long time before the wood fibre cellulose cables replace plastic or glass ones because they can't transmit light as fast.

The wood fibres absorb water and that affects how it transmits light.

Researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, where the cables were developed, say they could also be used as a moisture sensor for structures made of wood or other materials that don't react well to water.

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