January 7, 2018


Spinning the hits: quantum radio comes one step closer : How do you communicate in environments that radio waves can't penetrate? By harnessing the power of magnetism. (Andrew P Street , 1/07/18, Cosmos)

We take easy communication for granted in our globally-connected world, but there are plenty of places where the environment hinders the straightforward use of radio signals: under water, for example, or underground, or in areas of high electromagnetic interference. This also poses challenges for mapping the oceans or inside mines, where GPS cannot penetrate.

The issue is that the higher the radio frequency, the less good the signal is at penetrating matter. This is why your phone cuts out while you're driving in tunnels, while the lower frequency FM radio reception gets patchy but the even lower frequency AM radio continues to be reasonably audible.

A solution, however, may be at hand. Researchers at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, US, have managed a proof-of-concept for "quantum radio", manipulating the magnetic field of rubidium atoms to send digital signals. The work is described in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments.

Posted by at January 7, 2018 8:37 AM