A quantum atomic receiving antenna includes: a probe laser; a coupling laser; an atomic vapor cell that includes: a spherically shaped or parallelepiped-shaped atomic vapor space and Rydberg antenna atoms. These undergo a radiofrequency Rydberg transition to produce quantum antenna light from probe light, such that an intensity of the quantum antenna light depends on an amount of radiofrequency radiation received by the Rydberg antenna atoms. The quantum antenna light includes strength, direction, and polarization of the radiofrequency radiation, as well as a quantum antenna light detector in optical communication with the atomic vapor cell.
The invention is a new type of receiving antenna that uses optically excited atoms confined to a vapor cell to sense the strength, direction, and polarization of incoming RF radiation over the frequency range of under 1 GHz to about 1 THz (heretofore this frequency range will be referred to as RF i.e., radio frequencies). As opposed to traditional metal antennas, these new antennas can also be made entirely out of glass or other dielectrics, or a hybrid of dielectric and metal. The geometry of the vapor cell dictates the antenna pattern and the choice of atomic transitions dictates the atom’s response to different RF frequencies, RF field polarization, and sensitivity to RF field strength. Since these new antennas are quantum based, they can have vastly different properties than traditional antennas that break previously established antenna design limitations set by classical electromagnetic theory.