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Researchers at the Urbana-Champaign’s University of Illinois replicated one of physics’ most well-known electromagnetic effects, the Hall Effect, using radio waves (photons) instead of electrical current (electrons). Their method could be used to produce sophisticated communication schemes that increase signal transmission in one direction while absorbing signals in the opposite direction at the same time.


Edwin Hall found the Hall Effect in 1879 due to the interaction between charged particles and electromagnetic fields. In an electrical area, negatively charged particles (electrons) experience a force contrary to the field direction. Moving electrons in a magnetic field experience a force perpendicular to both their movement and the magnetic field in the course. In the Hall Effect, where perpendicular electrical and magnetic fields combine to produce an electrical current, these two forces merge. Light is not loaded, so it is not possible to use periodic electrical and magnetic fields to provide an equivalent “current of light.”

Researchers such as Gaurav Bahl have been efficiently working on numerous methods to improve radio and optical data transmission combined with fiber optic communication.

The team used the interaction between light and sound waves earlier this year to suppress the dispersion of light from material defects and released its outcomes in Optica. In 2018, team member Christopher Peterson was the lead author in a document on Science Advances, explaining a technology that promises to halve the communications bandwidth by enabling an antenna to simultaneously send and receive signals on the same frequency through a method called nonreciprocal coupling.

Researcher’s produce synthetic hall effect
(Credits: University of Illinois)

By developing a specially constructed circuit to improve the interaction between these synthesized areas and radio waves, the team used the Hall Effect principle to increase radio signals in one direction, increase their power, while also stopping and absorbing messages in the other. Their tests showed that with the correct mixture of synthetic areas, signals could be transferred as efficiently in one direction as in the opposite direction through the loop more than 1000-times. Their study could be used to create new equipment that safeguards radio wave sources from possibly damaging interference or help guarantee delicate mechanical quantities.

The team is also operating on experiments that continue the concept to other kinds of waves, including light and mechanical vibrations, as they look to establish a new class of devices based on applying the Hall Effect outside of its original domain.

Journal Reference: Physical Review Letter



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