Imagine a wave that could achieve faster than light communications; one that could travel through any material including Faraday cages, and wirelessly beam power to receivers. Nikola Tesla experimented with longitudinal (or scalar) waves with those properties at his Wardenclyffe tower on Long Island, N.Y.
Engineers and scientists are now continuing Tesla's work with scalar waves. One of them is IEEE member Steve Jackson, who presented information on a scalar wave transmitter and receiver at a local IEEE meeting at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada last week.
Pure Energy Systems (PES) Network has an excellent overview of scalar wave research, including Steve Jackson's presentation slides in the posting Tesla's Scalar Fields Still Beaming On!. Steve has approached PES Network to open source his design.
More detailed technical information is available on Dr. Konstantin Meyl's Scalarwave Technology website. Dr. Meyl even offers kits for people interested in experimenting with scalar waves. A detailed explanation of work on scalar waves, including Meyl's, can be found in the NASA report Advanced Energetics for Aeronautical Applications: Volume II by David S. Alexander. It notes that definitions from about 100 years ago state electromagnetic waves or transverse electromagnet waves (TEM waves)--the waves used today for wireless communication--are different from longitudinal electric waves, or longitudinal magneto-dielectric waves (LMD waves). The energy-related vibration is perpendicular to the wave propagation direction in TEM waves, and in the same direction for LMD waves.
At this point some readers are probably wondering why Dr. James Clerk Maxwell's classic electromagnetic wave equations don't include LMD waves. The NASA report says that Maxwell's original electric wave equations, published in 1865, were written in a form of mathematics known as "quaternions" which predict both transverse and longitudinal waves. The longitudinal waves were arbitrarily discarded when other researchers converted the original equations to the vector form commonly taught in universities today.
So far, it appears most of the research has focused on wireless power transmission rather than communications. The experiments have focused on "frequencies," if that's the right term to use, below VHF, which would appear to me to greatly limit data bandwidth. Can this technology be used for communications? If so, how will the longitudinal waves be modulated? What wavelengths will work best? How much information (data bandwidth) can be transmitted this way?
The idea of a radio powered by the wireless signals it's receiving is intriguing.
Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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