Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Getting warmer – Leeds research brings terahertz closer to everyday use

31.03.2008
A collaboration between the Universities of Leeds and Harvard has turned the heat up on terahertz technology, bringing a handheld terahertz device a step closer to reality.

The Leeds team, led by Professors Edmund Linfield and Giles Davies from the Faculty of Engineering, has recorded the highest operating temperature for a terahertz quantum cascade laser – a technology that scientists believe may unlock the potential of the terahertz frequency range.

Professor Linfield explains: “The potential uses for terahertz technology are huge, but at the moment they are limited to niche applications in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry and astronomy, as the current systems on the market are expensive and physically quite large. The availability of cheap, compact systems would open up a wide range of opportunities in fields including industrial process monitoring, atmospheric science, and medicine.”

Key to exploiting terahertz technology is the production of handheld devices, and one specific type of laser – the quantum cascade laser – will allow the creation of a terahertz device that is small and portable. The problem is, at the moment this type of laser will only function at temperatures of minus 100°C.

So the challenge is to create a terahertz quantum cascade laser which will work at room temperature. While the groups from Leeds and Harvard are still a way off from this, they have succeeded in increasing the laser’s operating temperature by nearly ten degrees, and believe they have the means to improve it yet further.

“We hope to obtain further advances by optimising the methods we used to create the device,” explains Professor Linfield. “We have some radically new design ideas, and also believe that we can make significant improvements in the way we fabricate the lasers.”

Terahertz quantum cascade lasers are created by building layers of compounds of aluminium, gallium and arsenic one atomic monolayer at a time, through a process known as molecular beam epitaxy. Leeds’ Faculty of Engineering is one of a small number of laboratories in the world actively ‘growing’ terahertz quantum cascade lasers at this time, using a molecular beam epitaxy system purchased through the Science Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF).

In molecular beam epitaxy, the chemicals evaporate from heated cells, and land on a heated, rotating, substrate. Minute changes in temperature, combined with a set of shutters that block the chemical beams, enable the team to adjust the amount of each chemical which is deposited on the substrate, gradually building up the layers they need. To ensure the device works perfectly, there must be no pollutants, so the process is carried out under ultra-high vacuum conditions, approaching the vacuum levels found in outer space.

The equipment and expert use of it by Professor Linfield and his team enabled them to create a device of superior quality. They now believe that they can bring handheld terahertz technology a step closer still.

The research, carried out in collaboration with the group of Professor Frederico Capasso at Harvard University, and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is published in Optics Express ( Vol. 16, Issue 5, pp. 3242-3248).

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/media/press_releases/index.htm

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>