Army researchers make major breakthrough in quantum electronic warfare (EW) to monitor entire RF spectrum

March 2, 2021
A Rydberg sensor could lead to a powerful kind quantum electronic warfare, that could detect the entire radio frequency spectrum.

ADELPHI, Md. – Scientists with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md., say they recently made a significant breakthrough in quantum electronic warfare (EW). The Debrief reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

2 March 2021 -- Using laser beams to create excited Rydberg atoms, Army researchers say they built a quantum sensor to detect the complete radio frequency spectrum. The findings, published in the Physical Review Applied, show the Rydberg sensor can pick up Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AM and FM radio, and other communications signals on frequencies as high as 20 GHz.

Although more engineering and physics work is necessary, the device has the potential to unleash new potentials for military communications, spectrum awareness, and quantum electronic warfare (EW).

Using the lasers, rubidium atoms are excited into desired Rydberg states, allowing researchers to measure atoms’ response to an electric field and hone in on a portion of the spectrum they wanted to measure. Because Rydberg atoms are extremely sensitive to the circuit’s electric fields, the device can expose the wide-range of faint signals in the RF spectrum.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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