£6.5 million project to exploit Terahertz lasers and microwave photonics

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A £6.5 million project is to exploit Terahertz (THz) quantum cascade lasers, microwave photonics and THz quantum state control to open up the THz spectrum for widespread scientific and commercial applications.

Funded by the UK government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the project’s goal is to solve the problems of complexity, bulk, high power consumption and lack of coherence that have stopped the exploitation of the THz spectrum. The THz frequency region is the last largely unexploited part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The benefits from overcoming these obstacles are expected to be, a thousand-fold enhancement in the bandwidth available to untethered devices, advanced biomedicine imaging technology, and optically controlled gates in silicon for quantum information processing.

The project’s principal investigator is professor Alwyn Seeds. He is head of University College London’s (UCL) Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He said: ‘This programme will enable us to address the THz spectrum with the same precision and sensitivity as is today possible at radio frequencies.’

The project will involve the Cavendish Laboratory, the University of Cambridge, UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the London Centre for Nanotechnology, and the University of Leeds’ School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.