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Top Story

The first laser radio transmitter

You've never heard Dean Martin like this. A recording of Martin's classic "Volare" was transmitted wirelessly via a semiconductor laser -- the first time a laser has been used as a radio frequency transmitter. In a newly published paper, National Science Foundation-funded researchers demonstrated a laser that can emit microwaves wirelessly, modulate them and receive external radio frequency signals. The research opens the door to new types of hybrid electronic-photonic devices and is the first step toward ultra-high-speed Wi-F. In 2017, the researchers discovered that an infrared frequency comb in a quantum cascade laser could be used to generate terahertz frequencies, the submillimeter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that could move data hundreds of times faster than today's wireless. In 2018, the team found that quantum cascade laser frequency combs could also act as integrated transmitters or receivers to efficiently encode information. Now, the researchers have figured out a way to extract and transmit wireless signals from laser frequency combs.

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