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Guest Lecture: High performance Terahertz nano-detectors

Guest Lecture by Dr Miriam Serena Vitiello from Istituto Nanoscienze – CNR and Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
When Dec 04, 2013
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where The Ramsey Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry
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Generation and detection of Terahertz radiation has become of large interest over the last few years for its potential in non-invasive imaging, spectroscopic and biological applications, process and quality control, homeland security and environmental monitoring.

In the last decade, the problem of THz generation has started to be seriously addressed with the development of quantum cascade (QC) lasers, nowadays capable to reach high output powers (>120mW) in a relatively broad operating frequency range (1.2-4.7 THz). However, despite the recent number of scientific and commercial progresses, a sensitive and fast low-cost room temperature THz detector technology is still missing.

Commercially available THz detectors are indeed based on thermal sensing elements being either very slow (10-400 Hz) (Golay cells, pyroelectric elements), or requiring deep cryogenic cooling (hot-electron bolometers), while those exploiting fast non-linear electronics (Schottky diodes) are mostly limited to the range < 1 THz.

The talk will offer an overview on our current approaches for the development of room-temperature THz nanodetectors with a special focus on the recent demonstration of high-sensitivity terahertz detectors based on a field effect transistor configuration, employing as active elements semiconductor nanowires or graphene and properly integrated with low shunt-capacitance antennas to funnel the radiation into the strongly sub-wavelength detecting element. The potential of this technology for scalability to higher frequencies and the development of flexible geometries make the proposed approach highly competitive for a future generation of THz detection systems.