Military Embedded Systems

Sensor demos could lead to simpler battlefield comms systems


October 19, 2023

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

University of Otago photo.

DUNEDIN, New Zealand. Physicists at the University of Otago in New Zealand demonstrated a new type of antenna for radio waves that they believe could enable simplified communications for soldiers on the battlefield as the sensors used in the radios could cover the full spectrum of radio frequencies, rather than needing multiple antennas to cover different frequency bands.

The portable atomic radio frequency sensors the Otago team tested -- enabled by atoms in a so-called Rydberg or type of electronically excited state -- are highly sensitive, possess broad tunability, and are small in size, which aims them at use in portable defense and communications applications. 

Additionally, the researach team reported that the Rydberg sensors can function without any metal parts, which can scatter the radio frequency (RF) field of interest and the atomic sensor is accessed using laser light, thereby replacing any electric cables

Dr. Susi Otto, from the Dodd-Walls Center for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, led the field testing of the sensors and antennas, as described in an article in the Applied Physics Letters journal.