PHotonIc THz Synthesis for Imaging and detectioN (PHITSIN)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


The detection of explosives carried about the person is an important current security concern. Explosives absorb high frequency waves in a characteristic manner, depending on the frequency of those waves. The frequencies of interest are in the teraHertz (THz) range, about a thousand times as high as the frequency range used by mobile phones. Signals at these frequencies can pass through clothes with little absorption, so that concealed explosives can be detected.Generating signals at such extremely high frequencies is difficult and usually requires a large and expensive laser having power consumption similar to an electric oven. Such a system is not very practical for checking whether people are carrying explosives.We have developed very efficient converters of light to THz signals which can be used with very small semiconductor lasers, requiring a total power of about 1 W, about the same as a small torch. In this project we propose to use these converters with a new and very sensitive detection scheme to create a system for detecting concealed explosives.In addition this type of technology could be used in a compact scanning system to identify concealed weapons and other items of security interest.


10 25 50
Description We developed sensitive coherent THz detection techniques using uni-travelling carrier photodiodes as opto-electronics mixers.
Exploitation Route Devices could be further developed for commercial manufacture.
THz spectrometry systems could be developed commercially.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description The high performance travelling wave uni-travelling carrier photodiode technology has attracted considerable commercial interest, with several companies manufacturing devices based upon our designs.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics
Impact Types Economic

Description European Union Framework 7
Amount £386,260 (GBP)
Funding ID 257539 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2009 
End 11/2013