Friday, February 13, 2009

Twisted radio beams could untangle the airwaves

The human race is not only exhausting tangible resources such as oil. The radiofrequency spectrum available for wireless communication is becoming the increasingly crowded, with virgin "veins" of frequency running short.

However, Swedish physicists say that twisting radio beams into a helical shape as they are transmitted could help ease the congestion.

Radio frequency encompasses electromagnetic waves between 3 kilohertz and 300 gigahertz, and as wireless communications technology advances much of that range is being used.

Satellite TV, wireless computer networks and cellphones are among the growing technologies vying for space up to 30 gigahertz, with some technology even beginning to extend beyond 100 gigahertz leaving a dwindling supply of virgin terrain to exploit.

Physicist Thomas Leyser at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Uppsala, Sweden, thinks he has a novel solution. Along with an international team of physicists, he has demonstrated that it is possible to put a spin on radio beams during their transmission to produce a twisted beam.

"Twisted laser beams have been researched since the 1990s, but it has only now become possible to create twisted beams at the much lower radio frequencies," he says.

1 comment:

Zen said...

It is fascinating to realize that light actually is a 2-D spectrum, with frequency and OAM. Beams with has high as 10,000 h-bar have been created.

This is a very unexploited realm with tremendous potential for information transfer, as well as novel detection methods.