September 30, 2022

Quantum sensor for entire radio frequency spectrum

Researchers from the US Army have disclosed a quantum sensor that could give soldiers a way to detect communication signals over the entire radio frequency spectrum, from 0 to 100 GHz.

In 2018, US Army scientists were the first in the world to create a quantum receiver that uses highly excited, super-sensitive atoms (Rydberg atoms) to detect communications signals. They calculated the receiver’s channel capacity, or rate of data transmission, based on fundamental principles, and then achieved that performance experimentally in their lab.

To assess potential applications, Army scientists conducted an analysis of the Rydberg sensor’s sensitivity to oscillating electric fields over an enormous range of frequencies—from 0 to 1012 Hertz. The results show that the Rydberg sensor can reliably detect signals over the entire spectrum and compare favorably with other established electric field sensor technologies, such as electro-optic crystals and dipole antenna-coupled passive electronics.

The paper has been published in IOP Science. (

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