'Wireless' message sent using neutrinos

March 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM   |   0 comments

ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 14 (UPI) -- A wireless message has been sent using a beam of neutrinos, nearly massless particles that travel at near the speed of light, U.S. researchers say.

The message -- sent by a group of scientists led by researchers from the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University on a beam of neutrinos 00 traveled through nearly 800 feet of stone and said simply, "Neutrino."

Possible uses of neutrinos in communication has long attracted interest because of one particularly valuable property -- neutrinos can penetrate almost anything they encounter.

"Using neutrinos, it would be possible to communicate between any two points on Earth without using satellites or cables," Dan Stancil, professor of electrical and computer engineering at N.C. State, said. "Neutrino communication systems would be much more complicated than today's systems, but may have important strategic uses."

Submarines, for instance, could communicate over long distances through water, which is difficult if not impossible with present technology. And communicating with someone on the far side of a moon or a planet would be easy, as the message could travel straight through without impediment, researchers said.

Scientists demonstrated neutrino message using one of the world's most powerful particle accelerators at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside of Chicago, the University of Rochester announced Wednesday.

"Of course, our current technology takes massive amounts of high-tech equipment to communicate a message using neutrinos, so this isn't practical now," University of Rochester physics professor Kevin McFarland said. "But the first step toward someday using neutrinos for communication in a practical application is a demonstration using today's technology."

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