What if we could use a 4 meter telescope to extract the visual information obtainable with a 40 meter one? What if we could observe rotating black holes thus confirming one of Einstein’s most intriguing predictions? And what if the same novel physical discovery allowed us to multiply twenty fold the information we can carry on a given frequency?
Sounds like sci-fi or an Hollywood movie? If we added that the author of all this is a 47 year old Venetian Astronomer with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics that, in spite of being one of the world’s most renowned experts in the field of quantum physics, is still in search of his first stable occupation in the Italian academia you would surely be inclined towards the Hollywood blockbuster.
Sometimes, however, life is stranger than fiction and we had proof of this during the compelling lecture Fabrizio Tamburini gave yesterday in Venice Telecom Italia Future Centre. He announced that by the end of June an experiment like the seminal one of Marconi will take place in Venice in order to prove his theory; a transmitter will be placed at San Marco while the receiving station will be placed on the facing island of San Giorgio. For a given frequency three channels of information will be transmitted: if they will be received without interfering one with the other the theorised breakthrough in the telecommunications world will be reality.
But what’s the physical discovery that could allow this breakthrough? Details are quite involved (interested parties may find them here and here); the theory stems from some Majorana works of the 30′s. Its essence is nonetheless clear: electromagnetic radiations (in the following we’ll refer for clarity sake to light, a subset of them) possess characteristics we’re already familiar with. They possess a frequency (which accounts for an em radiations to be light instead of an x-ray or a radio wave and accounts for the perceived colour of light), an amplitude (is the light we perceive dim or strong?) and a polarization (which is the characteristic of light used to allow 3D projections and also used in sunglasses and photographic filters to eliminate scattered light).
Tamburini theorised and observed a supplementary propriety: vorticity. By observing the vorticity of the light received from a telescope we’re able to extract more information from it thus overtaking current diffraction limits and obtaining what once was feasible only with a telescope 10 times as big. Rotating black holes give light curved by the a vorticity that allow us to observe them.
And last but not least, by emitting electromagnetic radiations with a given vorticity and by being able to discriminate between em radiations differing only in their vorticity we’re effectively adding a new dimension to electromagnetic transmissions, multiplying the quantity of information we’re able to transmit for a given frequency!
So stay tuned on this blog: we’ll be keen to report on the actual experiment and give you further details on Tamburini’s activities.