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Rydberg Technologies Demonstrates World’s First Long-Range Atomic RF Communication with Quantum Sensor at U.S. Army NetModX23 Event

Rydberg Technologies announced new advancements in their quantum sensing technology, working with the U.S. military, specifically the Defense Innovation Unit.
By Kenna Hughes-Castleberry posted 21 Dec 2023

Rydberg Technologies Inc., a global leader in quantum technologies and a pioneer in radio frequency (RF) quantum sensing, recently announced a significant advancement in quantum sensing technology. During the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) C5ISR Center Network Modernization Experiment 2023 (NetModX23) event, Rydberg Technologies showcased its low-size weight and power (SWaP) atomic receiver. This event, a proving ground for next-generation communication and intelligence technologies, witnessed the successful demonstration of the world’s first long-range radio communications utilizing an atomic quantum sensor.

The Rydberg atomic receiver device displayed extraordinary sensitivity across the high-frequency (HF) to super high-frequency (SHF) bands. It achieved a historic milestone by demonstrating over-the-air atomic RF communication over long distances. This demonstration, conducted in an operationally relevant environment, marked a new industry standard in size, performance, and environmental resilience for Rydberg atom quantum sensors. The receiver showcased signal selectivity, low detection probability, and immunity to unwanted interference, particularly in contested electromagnetic environments.

David A. Anderson, Ph.D., CEO of Rydberg Technologies, expressed the significance of this development in the quantum technology landscape. He stated in the recent press release, “The introduction of our atomic receiver prototype and its successful deployment under real-world conditions represents an important step forward.” He emphasized that this smallest-ever atomic receiver has demonstrated capabilities at frequencies and communication distances that pave the way for transitioning Rydberg atom quantum technologies from the laboratory to real-world applications.

This innovation in long-range signal reception with a Rydberg sensor signifies a crucial milestone for the technology, heralding the advent of the Rydberg atomic radio. Rydberg Technologies continues to push the boundaries of atomic receivers’ performance and functionality to cater to the needs of both defense and commercial markets.

Compared to traditional antennas, Rydberg atomic receivers offer unique characteristics, including high sensitivity, selectivity, and wideband coverage using a single atomic detector element. This technology can potentially revolutionize various fields, including RF surveillance, safety, communications, and networking capabilities, extending from long-wavelength RF to millimeter-wave and THz bands.

The development of the Rydberg Atomic Receiver was supported by the National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) funding initiative, a part of the Defense Innovation Unit. This support underscores the strategic importance of advancing quantum technologies in national security and commercial domains.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.

Categories: quantum computing, sensing

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