Embedding a Rydberg Atom-Based Sensor into an Antenna for Phase and Amplitude Detection of Radio Frequency Fields and Modulated Signals
Christopher L. Holloway, Matthew T. Simons, Abdulaziz H. Haddab, Joshua A. Gordon, David R. Novotny
We demonstrate a Rydberg atom-based sensor embedded in a parallel-plate waveguide (PPWG) for amplitude and phase detection of a radio-frequency (RF) electric field. This embedded atomic sensor is also capable of receiving modulated communications signals. In this configuration, the PPWG antenna serves two functions. First, the PPWG antenna acts as a source for a local oscillator (LO) field. The LO is required to use an atomic vapor cell (a glass cell containing a Rydberg atom vapor) as a Rydberg atom-based mixer, which detects the amplitude and phase of a second RF field incident from some remote location. The second function of the PPWG antenna is to capture the RF field arriving from a remote location and concentrate it at the location of the atomic vapor cell for detection. To demonstrate this, we show several examples of phase and amplitude measurements of an RF field with the embedded Rydberg-atom sensor. We also demonstrate the discrimination of the polarization of an RF field and the ability to receive phase-modulated carrier communications signals with this integrated atomic sensor. Embedding the atomic sensor in an antenna allows for the full characterization of a radio frequency field, in that the magnitude, phase, and polarization of an RF field can be measured with one compact integrated quantum-based sensor. Furthermore, the embedded sensor head allows one to easily vary the LO in order to maximize the ability to measure phase and amplitude of the field or modulated signal.