March 2, 2012
Researchers Bend Radio Waves Into Pasta Shapes
Researchers have solved the problem of radio congestion by twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta.
Scientists reported in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics that this feat allows for a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received.
A wave is able to twist a certain number of times in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, allowing for several configurations.
"In a three-dimensional perspective, this phase twist looks like a fusilli-pasta-shaped beam," lead author Dr Fabrizio Tamburini said in a press release. "Each of these twisted beams can be independently generated, propagated and detected even in the very same frequency band, behaving as independent communication channels."
The team demonstrated this technique in real-life conditions by beaming two twisted radio waves across the waters of Venice.
The researchers transmitted two twisted radio waves over a distance of about 1,450 feet from a lighthouse on San Georgio Island, Italy to a satellite dish on a balcony of Palazzo Ducale on the mainland of Venice.
Tamburini said in this demonstration that the team used 11 channels in one frequency band.
"It is possible to use multiplexing, like in digital TV, on each of these to implement even more channels on the same states, which means one could obtain 55 channels in the same frequency band," he said.
This new discovery could help give more insight into objects like waves passing by black holes, which are forced to twist in line with the rotating celestial object.
Tamburini said by analyzing the incoming waves from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, astronomers can obtain crucial information about the rotation of this "million solar mass monster."
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