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Watch NIST's 'Atomic Television' Live and in Color

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Atom-based communications systems could be physically smaller and more tolerant of noisy environments than conventional electronics. Adding video capability could enhance radio systems in, for example, remote locations or emergency situations.

Credit: NIST

U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have enhanced an atom-based radio receiver to detect and display live color TV and videogames.

The receiver utilizes atoms prepared in high-energy Rydberg states that are sensitive to radio signals and other electromagnetic fields, and which also facilitate signal power measurements tied to the international system of units.

The researchers use two different color lasers to excite gaseous rubidium atoms into Rydberg states in a glass container, apply radio carrier signals to the atoms, and feed the modulated output to a TV.

An analog-to-digital converter renders the signal as a video graphics array format for display.

Displaying live video signals or videogames involves sending input from a video camera to modulate the original carrier signal, which is fed to a horn antenna routing the transmission to the atoms.

From U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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