Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Ever Neutrino-Based Communication

I continue to be amazed at some of the things that people are capable of accomplishing.

Physics World is reporting the first ever use of neutrinos to transmit information.

Stancil approached Fermilab with the proposal and, having gained agreement, the researchers encoded the word "neutrino" into binary code. This was then used to modulate the neutrino beam with a bit rate of 0.1 bits/s. The message was received with a bit error rate of just 1%, allowing the message to be decoded easily after one repetition. Nevertheless, given the short distance over which communication was achieved, the low data transmission rate and the extreme technology required to achieve it (MINERvA itself weighs several tonnes), neutrinos are clearly not a viable method of communication in the short term.

Huber, however, is excited by the work. "I think the most significant feature of this work is that somebody went out and did it," he explains, adding "it makes an enormous difference because it proves it's possible."
Certainly this falls under the "proof of concept" experiment, and I don't think we'll see anyone seriously pursuing using neutrinos for communications, at least, not within my lifetime. Still, considering how difficult it is to detect these neutrinos, I'm amazed that they are able to accomplish such a thing.

Now, if OPERA is right, then we have found a way to transmit information faster than c! :)


1 comment:

Jason Nett said...

I suppose the only conceptual benefit would be the ability to send a signal through the Earth at the speed of light, but given the current availability to live video conferencing with Fermilab, CERN, and Japan simultaneously, it hardly seems worth the argon. Hopefully, nobody kicks a wire loose causing a 60 ns delay.