DARPA appoints research teams to help develop quantum RF receivers

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected research teams who will work on a program to develop quantum-assisted radio frequency antennas that have better sensitivity, bandwidth, and dynamic range for defense applications.

The agency said Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, ColdQuanta and SRI International will lead Quantum Apertures program participants in creating portable, directional antennas that leverage quantum techniques to enable a shift in spectrum sensing.

Efforts will focus on solving the technical challenges of the Rydberg sensor, the military’s current quantum RF sensor, and demonstrating its use as part of a receiving system. The resulting technology should be able to receive directionally low-intensity modulated RF signals and operate from 10 MHz to 40 GHz, or higher spectral range.

“Recent Rydberg atomic sensor demonstrations have shown that it is possible to access large parts of the RF spectrum, but QA aims to go beyond these efforts by permanently connecting these demonstrations to the across the spectrum,” said John Burke, program manager leading the quality assurance program. .

The selected team will begin research work in the fall of 2021. The QA program has four phases and an expected performance duration of 56 months.

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