High-speed acoustic communication by multiplexing orbital angular momentum [Applied Physical Sciences]
Long-range acoustic communication is crucial to underwater applications such as collection of scientific data from benthic stations, ocean geology, and remote control of off-shore industrial activities. However, the transmission rate of acoustic communication is always limited by the narrow-frequency bandwidth of the acoustic waves because of the large attenuation for high-frequency sound in water. Here, we demonstrate a high-throughput communication approach using the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of acoustic vortex beams with one order enhancement of the data transmission rate at a single frequency. The topological charges of OAM provide intrinsically orthogonal channels, offering a unique ability to multiplex data transmission within a single acoustic beam generated by a transducer array, drastically increasing the information channels and capacity of acoustic communication. A high spectral efficiency of 8.0 ± 0.4 (bit/s)/Hz in acoustic communication has been achieved using topological charges between −4 and +4 without applying other communication modulation techniques. Such OAM is a completely independent degree of freedom which can be readily integrated with other state-of-the-art communication modulation techniques like quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) and phase-shift keying (PSK). Information multiplexing through OAM opens a dimension for acoustic communication, providing a data transmission rate that is critical for underwater applications.
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