T-ray madness: Scientists score wireless data record

May 16, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog
Location of Terahertz waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Image: Wikipedia.

(Phys.org) -- Wednesday headlines trumpeted how "Japanese researchers smash Wi-Fi records" and "Scientists show off the future of Wi-Fi." The excitement is for good reason. A team of scientists have broken the record for wireless data transmission. They showed that they were capable of transmitting data at 3Gb/at frequencies up to 542GHz. They have done so in uncharted territory, so to speak, the terahertz band, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is currently unregulated. They reported success in making Wi-Fi twenty times faster.

Their breaking through the 3Gbps barrier is seen as enticing news for a future where broadband users can get impressively high data rates and The terahertz, or "T-ray," region is part of the between 300 GHz and 3 THz.

Research sites performing imaging make use of terahertz because it is a less damaging alternative to , in that terahertz waves can penetrate materials but deposit less energy.

Outside such settings, where heavy and costly machines are at work, the spectrum has not been considered as a practical solution for daily use. The researchers’ work may make such considerations plausible. The team developed specialized hardware that was capable of achieving the 3Gb data transmission. They made use of resonant tunneling diode, which produces smaller voltages with increasing current, i.e., the voltage decreased as the current increased. “By tuning the current, the team could make the device resonate and spit out signals in the terahertz band,”as Gizmodo commented.

Findings of the T-ray researchers, who are from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, have been, published in Electronics Letters. The study suggests that Wi-Fi using the system may support data transmission rates of up to 100 Gbit/s. The researchers note that terahertz Wi-Fi, however, would probably only work for ranges up to 10 meters, but data transmission within that range would be orders of magnitude higher than current alternatives. Their research is still a work in progress, and they intend to extend the range.

Beyond their research, Wi-Fi watchers expect favorable progress to come from the new standard 802.11ac, which is said to be the next evolutionary stage of wireless networking.

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More information: Direct intensity modulation and wireless data transmission characteristics of terahertz-oscillating resonant tunnelling diodes, Electron. Lett. -- 10 May 2012 -- Volume 48, Issue 10, p.582–583. dx.doi.org/10.1049/el.2012.0849

Direct intensity modulation and wireless data transmission characteristics of terahertz-oscillating resonant tunnelling diodes (RTDs) is reported. A direct intensity modulation of the RTD oscillators was demonstrated, and the frequency response was measured. It was found that the 3 dB cutoff modulation frequency was limited by the parasitic elements of the external circuit, and increased up to 4.5 GHz by reducing such parasitic elements. Wireless data transmission by direct amplitude shift keying was demonstrated using an RTD oscillating at 542 GHz with cutoff frequency of 1.1 GHz. The BERs for bit rates of 2 and 3 Gbit/s were found to be 2×10−8 and 3×10−5, respectively.

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User comments : 9

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3 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
802.11ac is performing very well. 800 Mbit transfer rate is possible by using 160MHz wide portion of the 5GHz band.

Terahz can only be used for line of sight, and thus have a limited range of applications. I suspect outdoor climate isnt very healty for a terahz link either due to attenuation.
3 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
Terahz can only be used for line of sight, and thus have a limited range of applications. I suspect outdoor climate isnt very healty for a terahz link either due to attenuation.

Heavy rain may cause problems for outdoor use but T-rays are supposed to penetrate fog and cloud well--since it is only suspected to be used for 10 meters max it probably would not be used outdoors much further than one's patio anyway. As for line of sight, they pass through wood, masonry, and such so unless a building has a lot of metal in it (or people and water tanks are crowded around the transceiver) this should not be a limiting factor, I think. But using a line of sight approach may make it usefull even in buildings with metal girders. One could place transceivers on differing floors and rooms in positions where the girders don't block the signal even if wood and masonry does. Maybe some meta-material will come along that acts as a T-ray mirror--so signals can bounce around girders.
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012

I thought teraHertz was 1000 GigaHertz but the write says upto 542 GHz?
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
which is 0.542 terahertz... I have a terahertz processor, 0.0038 terahertz to be specific.
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
"The terahertz, or "T-ray," region is part of the electromagnetic spectrum between 300 GHz and 3 THz."

Stupid, just like my Evo 4G is actually not 4G at all but 3G-LTE... blame marketing, they lie.
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
All currently used wireless spectrum is "line of sight." Most of that spectrum exhibits poorer obstacle penetration than the frequencies investigated by these researchers.

If you wish to think this is a useless innovation, Ia7dfa, you'll need to come up with a brand-new rationalization.
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
...I wonder how fast the neutrino transceiver of 2057 will be? At least line-of-sight will not be an issue!
Seriously though, T-Rays at 800Mb/s with a 10 metre range sounds pretty sweet. A mesh-network of cars could use it to zap data along (and default to something slower when things space out a bit), office buildings would be a no-brainer, mesh networks in sports stadiums/concerts/condo buildings etc.
How about forming a cluster computer using all the smart phones of people waiting for a movie to start? Say, 1000 phones, all communicating at 800Mb/s!!! I'm sure future software will be aware of computing resources surrounding it and call upon such when needed/permitted; ubiquitous high bandwidth wireless will allow this.
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
Heavy rain may cause problems for outdoor.. T-rays ... is only suspected to be used for 10 meters max. As for line of sight, they pass through wood, masonry, and such so unless a building has a lot of metal in it..
It's apparently a technology most suitable for replacement of wires inside of individual rooms and for LAN services providing, rather than WAN and Internet. The character of this radiation is similar to the thermal radiation of your infrared heater, which can be shielded easily, so don't expect miracles for it.
not rated yet May 18, 2012
After reading about attenuation of THz I have to admit I was partially wrong. For indoor use it should give some interesting results, as it can penetrate quite a few "dry" materials.

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