Researchers have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using just a single laser which could help to broadcast three-dimensional high-definition television signals and support the continued rollout of cloud computing.

By using Fourier transform technique, a group of German, Swiss, and UK scientists used a single laser to achieve data transfer rate of 26 terabits per second, which is equivalent of 700 DVDs in one second.

The data was sent over a 50-kilometre distance on a single-mode fibre on just a single laser. A typical fiber-optic cable pulls off its faster data transfer speeds by separating one light to carry multiple snippets of data across the same cable that end up being received as one pulse.

Scientists used the physical technique called Fourier transform, which separates all of the different frequencies out of a laser beam, to unpick the data streams at the end.

Earlier this year, Japanese scientists achieved broadband data transfer speeds of 109 terabits per second, but their method involved multiple lasers. The Japanese scientists used 7 data guiding cables, each carrying 15.6 terabits per second to bring a total of 109 terabits per second.