Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Off-the-shelf electronics turn up gain on spectroscopy

Date:
January 18, 2011
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
A new twist on spectroscopy allows for an unprecedented level of such filtering, one that could transform everything from the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to super-sensitive spy gear to scan hotel rooms for hidden microphones or cameras.

Whether the object of attention is a novel aspect of the universe or an enigmatic and distant colleague, listening is key to nearly any effort to seek understanding. And not just with your ears. Spectroscopy, the study of how atoms absorb and emit electromagnetic radiation, is like listening, too. The technique is central to a range of physics experiments and can be thought of as an attempt to filter out useful information from what various sensors and detectors often first "hear" as undifferentiated electromagnetic noise.

Now, a new twist on spectroscopy, described in the American Institute of Physics' in journal Review of Scientific Instruments, allows for an unprecedented level of such filtering -- one that could transform everything from the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to super-sensitive spy gear to scan hotel rooms for hidden microphones or cameras.

The technique was demonstrated on the slice of the electromagnetic spectrum containing frequencies on which terrestrial radio stations broadcast music. Current spectroscopy techniques can take such radio signals and tell you, in effect, the average volume and pitch of each moment of the music. However, if a given moment is made up of several notes played simultaneously -- a chord, say -- that fact is more or less invisible.

Or rather, it was invisible before the recent work of doctoral student Sebastian Starosielec and professor Daniel Hδgele, both at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum. By stitching together a MHz-sampling card -- a radio-frequency version of a sound card -- and a multi-core graphics CPU, the two combed through a broad band of the radio spectrum in extra-fine detail. Their technical achievement, which determined in real time correlations among many thousands of pairs of frequencies, for the first time makes it easy to distinguish between a soloist and an ensemble based only on analysis of spectra.

Beyond the search for E.T. and illicit bugs, the technique could prove useful "for detecting anything that is not pure noise," says Hδgele. Other applications could include better measurements of various physical systems, particularly in atomic and solid state physics, and the possibility of better communication signal recovery to be used on and off the planet's surface.

Hδgele gives the following example to illustrate the power of the the technology: Imagine a TV show was broadcast daily from Mars, and the signal was received, along with a vast amount of background noise, here on Earth. After a few days "we would be able to reconstruct the show's introduction, including the theme song and images, just from spectroscopic data," he says.

This work is supported by the German Research Foundation and Germany's Excellence Initiative.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sebastian Starosielec, Rachel Fainblat, Jörg Rudolph, Daniel Hägele. Two-dimensional higher order noise spectroscopy up to radio frequencies. Review of Scientific Instruments, 2010; 81 (12): 125101 DOI: 10.1063/1.3504369

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Off-the-shelf electronics turn up gain on spectroscopy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111132521.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2011, January 18). Off-the-shelf electronics turn up gain on spectroscopy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111132521.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Off-the-shelf electronics turn up gain on spectroscopy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111132521.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) — Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) — Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) — The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins