Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Electromagnetic Spectrum and Bandwidth

Novel concepts and technologies for maximizing use of the electromagnetic spectrum

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Unveiled in March 2016, DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge has reached an early milestone by choosing 30 contenders for the first of the three-phase competition, slated to culminate at the end of 2019 with a live match of finalists who have survived the two preliminary contests. In addition to 22 teams from academia and small and large companies, eight individuals have made it into the competition.
For decades scientists have wondered whether electromagnetic waves might play a role in intra- and inter-cell signaling. Researchers have suggested since the 1960s, for example, that terahertz frequencies emanate from cell membranes, but they’ve lacked the technology and tools to conduct reproducible experiments that could prove whether electromagnetic waves constitute purposeful signals for biological function—or if they’re merely background noise. With recent advances in technology and modeling, experiments may now be possible to test signaling hypotheses.
If human ears could hear the electromagnetic spectrum, the noise levels these days would be overwhelming. The skyrocketing use of wireless devices in military and civilian domains has created a complicated and cacophonous environment, filled with signals of widely varying frequency and amplitude and a menagerie of modulations. For warfighters trying to maintain critical communications links, interpret ambiguous radar returns, or defend against electronic warfare tactics, the ability to sort through that thicket of waveforms is essential—to identify where key signals are coming from, what kind of signals they are, and how best to send and receive information via the least contested spectral bands.
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) is hosting a “Sync with STO” event on August 2 - 3, 2017, designed to familiarize attendees with STO’s mission, problem spaces, program managers (PMs), and technology interests. The event aims to facilitate technical discussion between STO PMs and attendees that explore innovative and revolutionary ideas for addressing national security challenges.
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) this week unveiled its updated approach to winning or deterring future conflicts during Sync with STO Day, held in Arlington, Virginia. At the event—which attracted about 300 innovators and entrepreneurs, more than half of whom had never worked with DARPA before—STO program managers outlined new areas of interest and held discussions with attendees to explore innovative technology solutions for strategic national security challenges.