A GROUP of scientists led by researchers form the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University have used neutrinos to send a message.
Neutrinos are nearly mass-less particles capable of travelling at almost the speed of light. Theoretically, communications methods utilising these particles would be able to travel between any two points on Earth without utilising satellite or cables.
Neutrinos are capable of penetrating almost anything they encounter, unlike electromagnetic waves. For example, they pass right through planets, and substances like water are also no obstacle. Because of their neutral electric charge and almost non-existent mass, neutrinos are not subject to magnetic attractions and are not significantly altered by gravity, so they are virtually free of impediments to their motion.
To prove their point, the scientists sent the message â€œNeutrinoâ€ through 240m of stone.
Given the nature of neutrinos, current technology requires a lot of equipment to enable communications. The test was performed at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab near Chicago.
The researchers utilised one of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators and a multi-ton detector called MINERvA, which is located 100m underground.
The communication test was done during a two-hour period when the accelerator was running at half its full intensity due to an upcoming scheduled downtime. Regular MINERvA interaction data was collected at the same time the communication test was being carried out.
The scientists translated the word â€œneutrinoâ€ into binary code, and fired groups of neutrino to signify â€œ1â€ and none to signify â€œ0â€.
For the â€œ1â€ signals, large groups of neutrinos were needed because neutrinos are very hard to detect. The MINERvA can only detect around one in ten billion neutrinos.
If nutrinos did move faster than light, you could get a message before it was sent. 😉