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Scientists successfully send first message with a beam of neutrinos

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Researchers at the University of Rochester and North Carolina University successfully transmitted the world's first messages with neutrinos, sending a single word through over 787 feet of stone with the subatomic particles.

Sending messages with neutrinos flow chart
Sending messages with neutrinos flow chart

Scientists have been suggesting for years that sending messages with neutrinos — subatomic particles that are able to travel through solid matter — would be a way to avoid some of the limitations that come with communicating via electromagnetic waves. Now researchers at the University of Rochester and North Carolina University have made the first step towards realizing that possibility, using neutrinos to send a one-word message through over 787 feet of stone. The test was performed at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab, where the researchers used a particle accelerator to shoot the neutrino bursts, transmitting the message in binary code. The particles were then picked up by the facility's MINERvA detector, which itself is located in a cavern 328 feet beneath the ground. A computer decoded the transmission to reveal the message that had been sent: the word "neutrino" itself.

Communicating with electromagnetic waves becomes increasingly difficult when physical matter is placed in the path of transmission. In comparison, neutrinos could theoretically be used to communicate with submarines underwater, or even beam a message right through a planet to a ship on the opposite side. Of course, with such massive and sophisticated equipment involved, these type of applications are still very far away, but as with any proof-of-concept of this sort, we can't help but get excited about the future possibilites.