Using giant atoms and tiny lasers, researchers have created atomic television

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have developed “atomic television”, which uses lasers and atomic clouds to transmit a video signal that meets the traditional 480i resolution standard (480 horizontal lines).

Just don’t expect this to be installed as part of your home entertainment system anytime soon.

The key to the technology is a glass container with super-sized gaseous rubidium atoms excited by two colors of laser beams into what is known as a Rydberg state – this is when the atoms have a high level of energy, causing the electrons to spin farther away from the nucleus.

This, in turn, makes the atoms larger and more elongated, and also makes them sensitive to electromagnetic fields so that they can be used as a television signal receiver. Previously, researchers had done a similar trick with radio signals.

“We figured out how to transmit and receive video through Rydberg atomic sensors,” says electrical engineer Chris Holloway of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). ) in the USA.

“We actually encoded a video game into a signal and detected it using atoms. The output signal is sent directly to the TV.

Atom Cloud is first prepared with a radio signal. Its effect on energy shifts in Rydberg atoms is measured and used as a reference point. Then a video stream is added to modulate the original signal, which is transmitted through the horn antenna.

By analyzing one of the laser beams as it passes through the atoms, the scientists extract the video signal and convert it into a format suitable for the screen. The setup was previously tested using signals from a video camera and game console.

For the system to work successfully, the team needed to size the laser beams correctly. As the beam size changes, so does the time that the laser beam spends interacting with atoms, which then affects the bandwidth of the video stream.

“Beam size affects the average time that atoms remain in the interaction volume, which is inversely proportional to the bandwidth of the receiver,” the researchers write in their published paper.

After testing, the team found small beam diameters of less than 100 micrometers as both lasers were the best choice in terms of response speed and color transfer capability. They were able to achieve impressive data transfer rates of up to 100 megabits per second.

The researchers say these speeds could be improved even further in the future. The 480i resolution looks rather fuzzy by today’s standards, but now that the technology is working, it can be improved.

Now the atomic receiver is the size of a dinner table. , but it can be reduced in the future. These devices can be smaller and more versatile than existing receivers and are less affected by noisy environments.

What’s more, the same principles could be used with glass, commercially available atoms, and standard fiber optic cables. By recalibrating the lasers, receivers can quickly adapt to receiving audio and video signals.

“You don’t need to change any electronic components or use different connectors,” physicist Amita Deb of The New Scientist told the University of Otago in New Zealand, who was not involved in the study.

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