. 24/7 Space News .
DARPA selects research teams to enable quantum shift in spectrum sensing
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 05, 2021

illustration only

DARPA has announced the research teams selected for the Quantum Apertures (QA) program, which seeks to develop a fundamentally new way of receiving radio frequency (RF) waveforms to improve both sensitivity and frequency agility for defense applications. The selected teams will be led by Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, ColdQuanta, and SRI International.

The QA program aims to develop RF antennas, or apertures, that use quantum techniques to alter the way the RF spectrum is accessed. The goal is to develop portable and directional RF receivers with significantly greater sensitivity, bandwidth, and dynamic range than any classical receiver available today.

"Today, commercial wireless infrastructure, the construct of spectrum use, and beyond have been dictated by a hundred years' worth of antenna theory, originally developed by German physicist Heinrich Hertz," said John Burke, the program manager leading the QA program. "With the introduction of quantum, we have the ability to replace the existing fundamental limits placed on antenna technology with a whole new set of rules. Quantum Apertures seeks to create a paradigm shift in the way we access and use the spectrum."

The research teams selected to the program will endeavor to address today's antenna limitations by advancing the current state-of-the art in quantum RF sensors - the Rydberg sensor. DARPA's former Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program realized the potential to sense electronic fields using highly excited Rydberg quantum states.

These quantum states have a high quantum number (n) (in this case, approximately 100). High-n states have electrons that orbit ~10,000x further away from the proton than a ground-state atom, making them highly sensitive to electric fields - effectively acting like small antennae. More recently, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) harnessed this sensing capability to develop a super wideband radio receiver - now known as a Rydberg sensor - further demonstrating the technology's potential.

Ryberg sensors have several advantages over classic antenna-based receivers. They are not plagued with the same sensitivity challenges, largely because Ryberg sensors do not have to contend with thermal noise. Further, the performance of classic receivers is greatly impacted by the size and shape of the antenna. Ryberg sensors have no such size limitations with respect to the received RF frequency wavelength. This decoupling of the aperture shape and RF frequency enables a Rydberg sensor to be programmed over a large frequency range - from MHz to THz.

Despite these advantages, there are still significant technical challenges that must be overcome to realize the Rydberg sensor's potential in relevant defense applications. The QA program aims to address these challenges. Researchers will employ quantum and electro-mechanical-systems engineering to demonstrate the utility of Rydberg sensors as part of a portable RF receiver system. The target system will be able to directionally receive low intensity, modulated RF signals and operate over a very large spectral range - from 10 MHz to 40 GHz, or more.

This will enable a user to see a large swath of the spectrum with one antenna, particularly the portions that are relevant to military applications. The researchers will also endeavor to develop a sensor element and its associated electronics in a one cubic centimeter package that can successfully operate across various frequencies.

This will break the tradeoff between frequency range and size that exists with classic antennas. Further, the QA sensor will utilize lasers instead of cable for wiring, making it more resilient to high-power effects and tolerant of microwave radiation. This is a critical capability should the sensors be used near high-power calibrators or transmitters.

The final goal of the program is to demonstrate an ability to detect and process some commonly used waveforms (GPS, digital television, and a frequency hopping waveform) as well as develop novel waveforms that can take advantage of the unique RF sensing characteristics of Rydberg receivers for future defense applications.

"Recent demonstrations of Rydberg atomic sensors have shown that it's possible to access large portions of the RF spectrum, but QA aims to go beyond those efforts by continuously connecting these demonstrations across the spectrum," noted Burke. "We're going from simple demonstrations of one functionality to a device that can be programmed to do almost anything and do most of it better than a classical receiver could. This includes speeding up the time to tune the sensor, improving sensitivity to small signals, enhancing dynamic range, and expanding compatibility with modern signals."

The Quantum Apertures program is expected to run for 56-months, with four phases. Research will kick off in the Fall of 2021.

Related Links
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Harnessing Digital Agility on Northrop Grumman's G/ATOR program
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 24, 2021
On the modern, dynamic battlefield, agility and connectivity are decisive advantages. Agile and networked warfighters who rapidly adapt to changing adversary tactics, techniques and technologies in real time can outmaneuver and win. The same goes for the weapon systems those warfighters employ. Modern, software-defined weapon systems that feature multi-functionality and adaptability are needed so that they can continually evolve to counteract new threats. b>A Digital-First Sensor br> /b> T ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Boeing delays key uncrewed test flight to ISS

Nauka Module incident caused by software failure

Russia to stop using ISS by 2028, create own National Space Station

ISSRDC to highlight opportunities within biomanufacturing in space

Finding the cause of a fatal problem in rocket engine combustors

Rocket tanks of carbon fibre reinforced plastic proven possible

US watchdog upholds SpaceX's Moon lander contract

NASA performs field test of 3D imaging system for descent and landing

Aviation Week awards NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter with laureate

North-By-Northwest for Ingenuity's 11th Flight

Science in motion for ExoMars twin rover

Earthly rocks point way to water hidden on Mars

Shanxi company helps astronauts keep fit in space

China's space propaganda blitz endures at slick new planetarium

How Chinese astronauts stay healthy in space

China's five-star red flag flies proudly on red planet

Next batch of OneWeb satellites set to launch August 20

Iridium granted trio of regulatory approvals in Japan

Inmarsat unveils the communications network of the future

Space company in search for professionals

Experiment bound for Space Station turns down the heat

DARPA selects research teams to enable quantum shift in spectrum sensing

End tax breaks for gaming firms, says Chinese state media

The truth about space traffic management

Astronomers show how planets form in binary systems without getting crushed

Galileo Project to search for ET artifacts in galactic space

From the sun to the stars: A journey of exoplanet discovery begins

ALMA images moon-forming disk around alien world

Hubble finds first evidence of water vapor on Ganymede

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for the Europa Clipper Mission

Juno tunes into Jovian radio triggered by Jupiter's volcanic moon Io

Ride with Juno as it flies past Jupiter and Ganymede

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.