Saturday, 29 October 2011

'Twisted Radio Waves': Could they be the way out of Spectrum Crunch?

A recent infograph from, summarises the Spectrum Crunch that we may be facing soon. Though in reality its not as bad as it may seem initially, we still have to find a way out of this. Carrier Aggregation can only help to a certain extent as we still need spectrum to do the aggregation.

The following is from a recent article in discover magazine:

Italian astrophysicist Fabrizio Tamburini says a solution may lie in making better use of the frequencies already in use. In a recent paper, he demonstrated a potential way to squeeze 100 times more bandwidth out of existing frequencies.

The idea is to twist radio waves like corkscrews and create multiple subfrequencies, distinguished by their degree of twistedness. Each subchannel carries discrete data sets. “You can tune the wave with a given frequency as you normally do, but there is also a fingerprint left by the twist,” Tamburini says. He and Swedish colleague Bo Thidé hit upon the approach while studying waves warped by the immense gravity of black holes. This past June, the scientists set up a custom dish in Venice and successfully broadcast video encoded in both twisted and normal radio waves across St. Mark’s Basin. (Note this type of wave-twisting is fundamentally different from the better-known circular polarization of light.)

The next step is to design small, cheap smartphone antennas that can transmit and receive the warped signals. If the industry’s appetite for bandwidth is any indication, it may not be long before twisted-radio technology shows up in your new gadgets.

If you are a Physics buff, you can check the paper out here.

The picture above is from Wikipedia section on Light orbital angular momentum.

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