Researchers from the U.S. Military Research Laboratory have created a first-of-its-kind quantum receiver capable of receiving signals in any part of the radio frequency spectrum. The sensitivity area of this receiver starts at 0 Hz and ends at 20 GHz, so it is able to receive AM, FM ranges, Bluetooth signals, Wi-Fi, and other communication technologies.
As detectors, the new receiver uses the so-called Ridberg atoms, which are atoms of certain elements, which are in the maximum possible state of arousal.
The atoms are located on top of a special microwave circuit, and a laser light beam is used to excite them. It is known that Ridberg atoms are extremely sensitive to electric and magnetic fields, and the sequence of several atoms at certain points of the detector device allows them to cover the entire spectrum of radio frequencies.
"All of Ridberg's detectors, based on Ridberg atoms, were able to cover only small specific areas of the radio frequency spectrum, and our sensor is the first to cover a continuously very wide range," the researchers write, "This is strong evidence that new types of quantum sensors can become something that will dramatically change the picture on an "electromagnetic battlefield" that becomes more complex by the day."
Currently, the quantum receiver, which exists in the form of a laboratory prototype, demonstrates unprecedentedly high sensitivity and accuracy, which pushes researchers to create a spectroanalyzer device based on exactly the same principles.
"However, we will need to do a number of more studies and experiments, to do a lot of work, before quantum technology based on Ridberg atoms can be implemented as an experimental device, ready to start field tests" - write the researchers - "First of all, we will seek to reduce the dimensions of the device, trying to keep all its high characteristics and for this, we will have to use all that is now literally on the edge of science."