According to the project team with the National University of Defense Technology, China has tested using 6G terahertz to hunt US submarines.
Researchers claim that China has tested the world’s first submarine detection system based on next-generation communication technology.
According to experts involved in the experiment, the terahertz device detected incredibly minuscule surface tremors caused by a low-frequency sound source in the open sea.
As little as 10 nanometers tall, these waves were much below the current technology’s detection threshold.
According to the researchers, tracking and analyzing these waves can not only assist in locating the submarine but also gather crucial information, such as the noise signature or the model of the submarine.
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According to the project team with the National University of Defence Technology, the technology “will have significant application potential in underwater vessel detection and other areas.” On August 11, their work was published in the peer-reviewed Chinese-language Journal of Radars.
A frequency range between microwave and infrared radiation is called terahertz. For the sixth generation of communication technology, or 6G, terahertz technology has been suggested as a potential solution for delivering large data rates and minimal latency.
In addition to carrying a lot more data than current communication systems, electromagnetic signals in this range can also gather environmental data. Terahertz screening tools, for instance, are used in several airports in China to find prohibited objects hidden beneath passengers’ clothing.
Until recently, it was challenging to produce strong terahertz transmissions, but with recent increases in 6G spending, researchers in China and other nations have made advancements that enable widespread usage of the technology.
The Chinese team claims that thanks to advancements, the terahertz undersea detector may eventually be small enough to be mounted on a drone.
“A small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform has the advantage of good mobility, low cost and flexible deployment,” they said in the paper.
Additionally, it might function in conjunction with other techniques for finding submarines, such as laser, microwave radar, or a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).
“As a supplement to existing detection methods, it can provide important information for the detection and identification of submarines,” they added.
The experiment was carried out, according to the publication, in an unidentified place in the Yellow Sea, off the northeastern city of Dalian, at an unspecified time. According to their study, the weather was good at the time of the test, but breaking waves generated a lot of bubbles.
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To imitate submarine noise, the military scientists employed an artificial sound source. The undersea detector was mounted on an extended arm of a research ship and flown like a drone.
According to the researchers, when a submarine is moving quickly, “it produces significant radiated noise that propagates to the water surface and excites surface vibration.”
By the time it reaches the surface, the disturbance is incredibly weak. It was previously believed to be impossible to separate it from the ocean’s natural waves.
According to the state of the sea during the test, the terahertz sensor detected man-made ripples with an amplitude ranging from 10 to 100 nanometers.
The team referred to the outcome as a hardware and software miracle.
It was extremely sensitive due to the high frequency of terahertz vibrations. The Chinese researchers claim to have also created the first algorithm in history that can accurately detect ocean waves as small as a nanometer.
They claimed that undersea communication might utilize the same method.
To coordinate their movements in a significant military operation, friendly aircraft and a submarine occasionally need to make contact. The captain was able to encrypt information into surface vibrations that were too small for enemy forces to pick up.
“By detecting acoustically induced surface vibration signals, it is possible to invert the information conveyed by underwater sound sources,” the team said.
The terahertz technology “has high signal resolution” for cross-medium communication, which is still a difficulty for naval powers, according to the results of the sea tests, they claimed.
Separate close-range communication studies between water and the air have also used 6G technology and had successful results, they claimed.