Scientists shoot record-breaking lasers into space hoping to unravel the mysteries of time


The world record for the most stable transmission of a laser signal through the atmosphere has been broken.

Scientists at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and Western University (UWA) broke records using ‘phase stabilization’ technology with advanced self-guided optical terminals.

“We can correct for atmospheric turbulence in 3D, left-right, up-down and critically, along the line of flight,” said Benjamin Dix-Matthews, PhD student at ICRAR and UWA.

“This allows us to send highly-stable laser signals through the atmosphere while maintaining the quality of the original signal,” Matthews continued, adding that “as the moving atmosphere is removed and does not exist . ”

This development means that laser signals can be sent from one point to another without atmospheric interference, which means that more data can be transmitted between satellites and the Earth than is currently received with greater efficiency. Can.

ICRAR-UWA Senior Researcher Drs. Sacha Shivaay said, “Our technology can help us increase the data rate of satellites”

“The next generation of large data-gathering satellites will be able to rapidly obtain critical information on the ground.”

Another advantage of this technique is that it is the world’s most accurate way of comparing the flow of time between two different locations.

“If you have one of these optical terminals on the ground and the other on a satellite in space, you can start to explore fundamental physics,” Dr. Shaivi said.

“Everything from Einstein’s test of general relativity is more accurate than ever, to find out whether fundamental physical constraints change over time.”

The technology can also be used in earth science and geophysics research, allowing satellites to study how the water table changes over time or accumulates underground.

Phase stabilization technology was originally developed to synchronize incoming signals for the Square Kilometer Array Telescope – a multi-billion dollar telescope to be manufactured in Western Australia and South Africa from 2021.

The researchers’ results will be published in the journal titled “Point-to-Point Stable Optical Transfer Transfer with Active Optics” Nature communication.

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