A new measurement method developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and with support from researchers at the University of Michigan, could solve size limits on imaging and mapping of electric fields at below usual radio frequencies.
Currently, the size of the metallic structures used to image and measure fields needs to be on the order of the wavelength of the RF fields to mapped efficiently. The current method limits how small features can be measured. This new technique uses laser light at optical wavelengths to overcome this limit, by utilizing rubidium atoms as tunable resonators to map and image fields at resolutions below their RF wavelengths. Sub-RF wavelength resolution would be beneficial in measuring and optimizing properties of densely packaged electronics, and understanding the behavior of metamaterials and metasurfaces.