(Left) Concept - University of Rochester (Right) Data frame structure and a depiction of the data sent/received - D.D. Stancil
The detector picked up 1 in ten billion neutrinos, that was one bit. The transmission continued, and in a short amount of time the signal was decoded to say "NEUTRINO." The test at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab was a success. A data communication using only neutrinos is possible.
At the Fermi National Accelerator Lab (Fermilab), in a Chicago suburb called Batavia, a team of researchers sent a message over a distance of 1.035 km. The communication setup was the 2.5-mile particle accelerator (transmitter) and the MINERvA 170-ton detector (receiver) located 100 meters below ground. The data stream was at 1 bit/sec of binary code. The team stated they sent a burst of neutrinos to represent a "1" and nothing to stand in for a "0." The research team suggested that this tech could be used for the global exchange of encryptions codes. (That is until everyone uses the method.)
Along the path, the near massless neutrinos had to pass through 240 meters of stone. Neutrinos have no electric charge, and they are not affected by electromagnetic forces. Only the weak sub-atomic force (which acts at extremely close) and gravity (which has little influence on the subatomic scale) can influence the particle. As a result, the neutrino can travel through the gaps of molecules fluidly, which includes solids. The particle is "elusive" to detect, hence the need to send 10 billion for every 1 detected.
MINERvA neutrino detector layout - D.D. Stencil
Team researcher, North Carolina State University professor Dan Stancil, explained the possibilities, "Using neutrinos, it would be possible to communicate between any two points on Earth without using satellites or cables. [Although] Neutrino communication systems would be much more complicated than today’s systems, but [they] may have important strategic uses."
Partner school, University of Rochester, physics professor Kevin McFarland said, "Of course, our current technology takes massive amounts of high-tech equipment to communicate a message using neutrinos, so this isn’t practical now. But the first step toward someday using neutrinos for communication in a practical application is a demonstration using today’s technology.”
With the recent experimentation with the speed of neutrinos, there is a slim possibility of faster than light communication. The thoughts of science fiction are reality once again. Although the recent September and November 2011 experiment from the OPERA Collaboration suggests it is possible, skepticism surrounds the results. Further tests are sure to come. In the meantime, neutrino communication through the center of the Earth is paramount.