German researchers have used a single laser to transfer data at a speed of 26Terrabits per second (Tbps).

The data transfer is equivalent of transmitting 700 DVDs in just one second and has set a new record for data transfer speeds and uses a process that encodes different data into each of the separate colours within a laser beam. At the end of the transfer a set of laser oscillators are used to reverse the process and decode the signal. The process is described in further detail in the Nature Photonics journal.

Professor Wolfgang Freude, co-author of the paper, which was put together by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, revealed that while it may be the fastest data transfer using just one laser, the speed has been beaten in a trial that used multiple lasers.

"Already a 100Tbps experiment has been demonstrated," he told the BBC.

"The problem was they didn't have just one laser, they had something like 370 lasers, which is an incredibly expensive thing. If you can imagine 370 lasers, they fill racks and consume several kilowatts of power."