The terahertz (THz) frequency range (ca. 0.1 to 10 THz) is still considered to be a largely unexplored part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This ‘THz gap’ between conventional electronics and optics offers the potential for increased research funding and commercial exploitation, along with an urgent need for developing traceable standards in metrology.

Practical applications to enhance modern day living

There are many ubiquitous applications that could be created to enhance our modern day living, resulting in a huge impact for society and economic growth.

In telecommunication, wireless links often represent a bottleneck, due to the lack of available bandwidth. Frequency bands above 100 GHz offer a unique opportunity to overcome this limitation.

Along with the continual push by the semiconductor industry to increase the upper frequency limits of Si and SiGe devices, dedicated THz science and engineering is helping to integrate devices with novel functional materials and innovative micro/nano-fabrication technologies.

An increasing demand for surveillance of objects and individuals in restricted zones (e.g. airports, stations, large public events, etc.) has recently brought the terahertz range into focus. This is due to the non-ionizing nature of THz radiation and its ability to penetrate through non-metallic construction/packaging materials and clothes.

Moreover, its short wavelength can achieve high spatial resolution imaging. Again, novel engineering approaches in conjunction with advanced functional materials and micro/nano-fabrication technologies represent key areas of innovation.

Read more about the background to terahertz activities and their impact.