Swedish Institute of Space Physics (59o50.272'N, 17o38.786'E)

IRF Research Programme


2013-11-13 On 24th of September, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) visited our experimental site in Padua, Italy, to witness an experiment on Radio Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) with potential for drastic improvement in spectral efficiency. In the experiment, we managed to triple the spectral capacity of a given radio link by using nothing but the inherent quantum property of electromagnetic angular momentum. By utilising also the so called MIMO technique, the capacity can be further increased in the same way and by (at least) the same amount as for today's linear momentum radio communications.
2011-11-16 In a laboratory experiment we have demonstrated how a radio (or radar) beam that is reflected off a target whose refractive properties varies perpendicularly relative to the radio/radar beam axis becomes "twisted", i.e. contains photon orbital angular momentum (OAM). As demonstrated in the article Experimental verification of photon angular momentum and vorticity with radio techniques in the November, 2011 issue of Applied Physics Letters it is possible to decide this azimuthal structuring of the refractive medium, e.g., a plasma, by analysing the OAM spectrum, also known as the spiral spectrum, of the reflected beam (radar echo).
2011-10-28 Erik Nordblad successfully defended his doctoral thesis Opening New Radio Windows and Bending Twisted Beams.

The activities within the IRF Research Programme 'Physics in Space' (PHISP) focus on the study of the basic small- and large-scale processes and fundamental physical principles which control the Earth's interaction with its space environment. Of particular interest are linear and non-linear dynamical processes involving waves, radiation, turbulence, solitons, cavitons, alfveons, hybrons, striations and other structures in space plasma and the associated exchange of energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum between plasma and radiation.

Adopting a holistic point of view, where space is seen both as a natural laboratory without walls and as an object of study in itself, we try to enhance and widen the basis of our knowledge of the world around us. Systematic observations of space are compared with results obtained from theoretical research and numerical simulations carried out on clusters of supercomputers. In the experiments we use a combination of world-wide ground-based research infrastructures and instrumentation onboard satellites and other spacecraft.

Our work also includes the development of new instrumentation and experiment methodology based on modern fundamental physics. We have a long experience in designing and building very advanced instruments. Already in 1983 we built our first generation software defined radio (SDR) system for new types of radio studies of space. We are now (2010) into our eighth generation, with a fully vector sensing digtal sensor system that allows a complete characterisation and control of all parameters in an electromagnetic radio beam, including its energy, momentum, polarisation and angular momentum.

Additionally, we are involved in teaching and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students, and public outreach activities.

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