6G Communication Research Leads to Underwater Submarine Detection Technology in China

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Image Source: Xinhua

Researchers in China have discovered an unexpected practical application for sixth-generation (6G) communication technology – the ability to detect subtle water disturbances on the ocean’s surface. This technology, which operates in the terahertz frequency range, has demonstrated the capability to detect minuscule water oscillations that were previously undetectable. These oscillations can not only indicate the presence of an underwater submarine but also provide information about its type, speed, and direction of movement.

Extensive research in the field of 6G cellular communication has led to the development of advanced transmitters and receivers working in the terahertz frequency range (between infrared and microwave). Compact and sensitive terahertz detectors are becoming increasingly feasible, with foundational technologies in place. The challenge lies in further miniaturization and practical implementation. Terahertz scanners could potentially be installed on small drones to monitor the environment and beyond.

Researchers from China’s National University of Defense Technology conducted an experiment in the Yellow Sea. They placed a terahertz-sensitive sensor on an extended manipulator while deploying a sound emitter in the water to simulate submarine engine noise. In clear weather with mild waves, the sensor detected ripples on the sea’s surface ranging from 10 to 100 nm in height, generated by the sound source.

Interpreting the wave pattern from an artificial source can provide insights into the submarine’s type, direction, and speed. Swarms of drones equipped with such sensors could patrol water bodies and, combined with other detection methods, gather strategic intelligence. Additionally, these sensors could monitor environmental conditions, weather patterns, and marine life.

A similar technology could be employed for underwater communication. A sound transmitter could create corresponding ripples on the water’s surface, and an algorithm could convert the captured data into readable signals. Scientists believe that these communication channels would be secure from interception due to the insignificance of the disturbances.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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