04:16 PM

NIST Research Could Boost Mobile Device Security

An electron spinning technique could pave the way for a new generation of wireless device signals that are difficult for enemies to intercept, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

Slideshow: Next Generation Defense Technologies
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Particle physics could be the key to creating a new generation of wireless technology that would be more secure and resistant to interference than current methods, according to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The research could pave the way for federal agencies like the U.S. military to create wireless devices with signals that would be difficult for enemies to intercept or scramble. If NIST research and analysis is correct, it may be possible to create an oscillator that could leverage the spin of electrons to generate microwaves for use in mobile devices.

The effect of this process could be used to create a cell-phone oscillator that enables the frequency of the devices to be changed very quickly. This would make the signals from the devices very hard for enemies to intercept or jam, making them optimal for use by the military or other defense or intelligence agencies, according to NIST.

Electron spin is a property that also can be applied to electronic circuits. The technique proposed by NIST researchers for cell phones could develop a type of wave called a "soliton," a shape-preserving wave that is already used in a variety of media, including optical fiber communications.

In theory, a soliton would be created in a layer of what NIST describes as a "multilayered magnetic sandwich." One of the sandwich layers must be magnetized perpendicular to the plane of the layers. To generate a soliton, an electric current then must be forced through a small channel in the sandwich.

Once the soliton is generated, the magnetic orientation oscillates at more than a billion times a second, which is the frequency of microwaves, according to NIST.

According to NIST, the oscillator, as predicted by researchers, would maintain a constant frequency even with variations in wave current. The result would be a steady, strong output signal that also would reduce unwanted noise.

While only mathematical research has been done so far to prove the theory, NIST researchers believe they can realize the effect in devices. They are currently seeking experimental evidence to support the theory, according to NIST.

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