Researchers have today published results of work to create an ultra thin co-axial cable capable of transmitting light, they said could increase computing speeds.

The cable, which at 300 nanometres is thinner than a human hair, builds on the common co-axial cable used in cable, telephone and internet service delivery. But instead of carrying electromagnetic signals down its core the new cable, as described in the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters today, can transmit visible light.

The US-based scientists from Boston College have managed to demonstrate the transmission of a broad spectrum of light for the first time through a cable far smaller than the wavelength of visible light, which is between 380-750 nanometres.

One of the scientists involved said this achievement may enable more efficient solar fuel cell technology, as well as miniaturised circuits and switching devices in optical computing.