Due to a quantum phenomenon called “electromagnetically induced transparency,” the receivers tap “excited atoms” to achieve 1000 times more sensitivity than conventional radio equipment, the operator noted, producing a very sensitive electric field detector.
Because atomic radio frequency (RF) receivers are more sensitive, they could be used in passive optical receivers in remote areas to extend mobile infrastructure to previously unreachable areas.
The atomic radio receivers have the advantage of the low cost of smart city and agriculture deployments.
The quantum radio receiver technology, according to BT CTO Howard Watson, might improve the performance of the company’s EE mobile network while also offering better service to customers, although it is still “early days for the technology.”
The operator stated that a digitally-encoded communication was received on a 5G 3.6GHz carrier frequency for the first time during its network trial.
Researchers at BT Labs are aiming to miniaturize the equipment and determine the best RF modulation and signal processing for use in future radio networks. Several patents linked to the atomic RF receiver have been secured, according to the company.