A silicon photonics based terahertz synthesizer

01 January 2018 → 18 July 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Project description

This project aims to develop a compact (chip-scale) source of terahertz waves. These are light
waves with a frequency somewhere between those of cellphones and those used for thermal
imaging. These terahertz waves could be used for telecommunication since they can provide much
higher wireless data rates than the currently used 3G, 4G and WiFi technologies. This increase in
data rate is needed since wireless channels are expected to accommodate 2/3 of the data traffic
by 2020. The innovation in this field is the compactness of our source, as well as its spectral purity,
allowing for higher data rates. Another field of interest of this application is spectroscopy. The low
energy of terahertz radiation renders it harmless for biological tissues and DNA. Furthermore,
terahertz radiation is not only sensitive to the chemical composition of a substance, but also to the
specific shape and configuration of a certain (bio)molecule. Lots of harmful gases such as CO also
show specific absorption lines in the terahertz region. The combination of these characteristics
makes terahertz radiation suitable for the characterization of large biomolecules (e.g. DNA),
bacteria, pharmaceuticals, substances of abuse, trace gases etc. The innovation here is again
compactness, spectral purity and also tunability over the entire frequency range of interest. It
serves as a step towards new portable spectroscopy applications, especially in the field of gas
sensing, where resolution is important.