BT is testing a new hypersensitive quantum antenna technology that uses excited atomic states that could enhance the capabilities of the next generation of 5G and IoT networks.

Atomic radio frequency (RF) technology is a revolutionary new way of detecting radio waves that can find much weaker signals than conventional receivers. The receiver works by using a quantum effect called “electromagnetically induced transparency” to form a highly sensitive electric field detector. The BT sample is the first time a digitally encoded message has been received at 3.6GHz (5G) carrier frequency. Previously, simple audio was produced at much higher frequencies, but this test is the first industrial demonstration to use digital modulation in one of EE’s main commercial 5G frequency bands.

This new type of receiver can reduce energy consumption on the mobile network, enable Internet of Things (IoT) devices to become more cost-effective and durable, and support smart cities at a lower cost and smart agriculture. Theoretically, more than 100 times more sensitive than traditional receivers, the atomic radio frequency receiver can be positioned in a passive optical receiver in hard-to-reach places, potentially bringing mobile networks closer to 100% coverage and helping to bridge connectivity.

Although the technology is still at a very early stage, it has the potential to provide greater sensitivity than conventional radio antennas, adjustable operation at very low frequencies, detection of analog and digital modulation and low power consumption through reduced electronics demand. The new technology may in the future form the basis of hypersensitive 5G receivers for use in passive mobile networks with very low power.

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BT trials new quantum radios to boost next-generation 5G & IoT Networks

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