Monolithic Resonant TeraHertz Detectors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

Visible light is only a very small part of the whole electromagnetic spectrum. The radio spectrum is also very familiar to most people, but less well known is the range of wavelengths in between. In this project we are particularly interested in a part of the spectrum that has come to be known as the terahertz band, so called because the frequency is around 1 THz. Light in the terahertz band can pass through materials that are opaque to visible light, but yet, the wavelength is still small enough to resolve features smaller than 1 mm. Because of this terahertz has attracted a great deal of interest for applications where we need to see through materials, but also take good sharp pictures. Applications include medical and security imaging, particularly because terahertz is non-ionising so can be safely used with humans.Unfortunately terahertz technology suffers from some significant difficulties that requires research to overcome. Bright terahertz sources are difficult to make, so considerable effort is needed to improve what we have at the moment. Terahertz is energetically similar to ambient radiated heat, so sensors have to be both sensitive and highly descriminating. In a complete terhertz imaging system all aspects of the technology and its components are important in determining the overall performance. This project is therefore dedicated to improving sensor performance.There are a number of attributes that we would like for a good sensor. It should be small, consume little power, be very sensitive, and ideally, if it it to be used in an camera, fast enough to allow video rate imaging. We propose to use the optical properties of semiconducting materials and carefully designed metallic structures to capture terahertz radiation. We will demonstrate that these structures can be used to make an array of sensors, just as you would find in a normal camera, and that the sensors are sensitive and selective to terahertz. In the same way that mainstream photography has benefited from microelectronics to make digital cameras possible, we will also be able to make use of integrated circuit technology so that many sensors can be cheaply and efficiently put on to a single chip.Our project has attracted support from leading UK companies including Teraview and Selex-Galileo that have immediate routes to market for successful technology. Our aim is to complete the research that will demonstrate new technologies to the point where further investment will enable the creation of new products that can be used by scientists, clinicians and the security services in the not to distant future.

Planned Impact

We will work with industrial partners who can exploit the technology in this project. The U.K. is an international leader in the exploitation of THz components and systems and therefore the funding of this proposal could help maintain and expand that position while also providing additional economic benefits to the UK. The impact will be felt in the health and security sectors, as well as various industries including pharmaceuticals and aerospace where terahertz is becoming a major analytical tool. We are already engaged with the HOSDB who are exploring existing terahertz technologies, and are actively seeking innovation. We collaborate on other projects with medics and biologists and are well positioned to engage with them as and when necessary. To ensure exploitation we are working with several companies. Selex-Galileo is a leading player in the electromagnetic sensors market. They also work with an extensive range of component suppliers, the majority of which are based in the UK owing to requirements of the defence business sector. Teraview are a recognised leader in innovative THz technology. We have worked extensively with Teraview in the past and have strong ongoing collaboration. We will also work with MESL who are well established in the microwave and millimetre-wave sector. They are a good partner due to their geographical proximity, and they're desire to invest in new opportunities in the coming years. In this manner we are assisting the growth of this important business sector. We will encourage the Researcher Co-Investigator and the PhD student to visit the companies to complete technical tasks, especially with regard to test and measurement. We will engage with the EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account at the University of Glasgow to further expand our range of interaction and maximise the opportunity to reach customer/client bases for the research outputs. The project researchers will be encouraged to use the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme if relevant opportunities arise. We are aware of additional opportunities for joint project funding with industry including TSB and EC grants and we will pursue them with our industrial partners to aid and encourage exploitation. We will communicate frequently with our partners to ensure a free flow of technology and knowledge leading to mutually beneficial outcomes. The project will be advertised to a wider audience using an open web-site. Using this web-site we will create partner portals so that information may be shared securely when necessary. Data libraries will be built to create a resource both for immediate project use and knowledge transfer. The project will be publicised by University Corporate Communications who provide an excellent news service, as well as by using our own web-site. We have an excellent record of dissemination via peer reviewed and technical press publications, as well as at major international conferences. This mechanism provides dissemination to both academic and industrial potential users internationally. We will publish major results in high impact journals (APL, OL, IEEE APS) and web-publications (Optics Express). New inventions will be protected by patent prior to disclosure where there is a clear exploitation path. The PI and Co-I have an extensive record of outreach by giving lectures in schools, at the University science Fair, IET Engineering in Health Week, and exhibiting at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. Both are very active in organisation of events in the University. Drysdale has been especially effective in presenting our work to school age students whereas Cumming, as KTA Director has coordinated a variety of industrial outreach events.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Building relationship to industry under NDA
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Title Multi-Spectral materials: hybridisation of optical plasmonic filters, a mid infrared metamaterial absorber and a terahertz metamaterial absorber 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Terahertz Metamaterial Absorbers implemented in CMOS Technology for Imaging Applications: Scaling to 64x64 Focal Plane Array Formats 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Uncooled CMOS terahertz imager using a metamaterial absorber and pn diode 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Terahertz radiation detector focal plane array incorporating terahertz detector, multispectral metamaterial, and combined optical filter and terahertz absorber 
Description A CMOS based focal plane for terahertz imaging using a focal plane array. The array uses metamaterials to enhance sensitivity to terahertz whilst also allowing transmission at other wavelengths so that sensors for other wavelengths can be incorporated on to the same chip. 
IP Reference US9513171 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact Collaboration with industry on photonics technologies