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Euro project to up THz sensor capability

Posted: 01 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:terahertz imaging? security application? CMOS?

The TeraTOP is a consortium of eight European industrial research groups and firms that focuses on potential security applications and will demonstrate a camera for detecting hidden objects. According to them, the aim of the project is to create a device that can cut the cost and improve the performance of terahertz (THz) imaging in many applications including public security.

CMOS technology has recently seen a vast development effort in the higher frequency regimes of the near-infrared and the visible parts of the spectrum. The development of an analogous capability for the THz range relies on exotic materials and technologies and has been impeded by the lack of devices and circuits suitable for mass production. The consortium plans to implement a completely new type of THz sensor based on thermally-isolated nanotransistors directly integrated with CMOS-Silicon On Insulator (SOI) readout circuitry. The THz region of the electromagnetic spectrum is attracting increasing attention from scientists around the world. Extending from the microwave- to the infrared region, this non-ionizing (and therefore safe) radiation can be used to see beneath outer layers of packaging and clothing.

TeraTOP project

The TeraTOP project aims to develop a device that improves THz imaging.

The key target of the project is to make breakthrough advances in the functionality, performance, cost and size of a passive THz camera. The target technology is a room temperature real-time imaging sys-tem based on CMOS batch manufacturing processes that are suitable for mass production. Success depends on the effective combination of several leading technologies from the broad scientific back-ground represented by the consortium's members. The key enabling building blocks include THz pho-tonic components, THz antennas, CMOS-SOI, NEMS and frequency-selection technologies from the astronomy community.

Underlying the project are several THz related patents and patent applications submitted by two of the project partners: Technion Israel Institute of Technology and IBM Haifa Labs. The TeraTOP project hopes for a significant product that can be implemented rapidly on a broad scale across Europe for the benefit of its citizens.

The consortium consists of CSEM (Switzerland), Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Israel), IBM Haifa Research Lab (Israel), IBM Research GmbH (Switzerland), CEA-LETI (France), the University of Wuppertal (Germany), EADS Deutschland GmbH (Germany) and QMC Instruments Ltd (UK).

- Julien Happich
??EE Times

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