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Terahertz Source seeding the new College of Engineering THz materials preparation and analysis Center: THeMPAC

Defense, homeland security, life science, biomedicine, physics, chemistry, and engineering research currently have put strong emphasis on materials preparation, characterization, and device design allowing for optical applications in the Terahertz (THz) frequency region. For example, THz radiation is harmless but penetrates materials similar to x-ray radiation. THz spectroscopy fingerprints biological molecules, or measures electrons in semiconductor chip structures. THz radar penetrates atmospheric windows and securely screens for hidden metal objects.

Success in design and preparation of nanoscopically inhomogeneous materials has created a vast realm of new passive and active media. Dimensions, geometries, and electronic properties of such miniaturized structures excitingly combine mechanical, electrical, and optical properties of matter, which allow for active and passive THz architectures with huge potentials for use in THz devices. However, the THz range - practically unavailable hitherto for research and applications - presents a strong challenge to preparation and design of sources and detectors because even basic materials properties characterization is hampered due to the lack of appropriate and available THz characterization tools.

The acquisition of a tunable THz source establishes the foundation for a new central facility at the College of Engineering: The Terahertz Materials Preparation and Analysis Center (THeMPAC). This new THz source is combined with equipment existing at the CoE and thereby establishes new, unique, and universal characterization techniques: THz optical-Hall effect, THz ellipsometry, THz confocal microscopy, THz spectroscopy and others. The new facility will boost ongoing CoE nanostructure materials, optics, and device research, and nurture new areas of discovery, not anticipated by any other research team so far. The thereby established research capabilities will place the CoE at unique position in numerous current high-level areas of research programs. Our proposed long-term research project goals utilizing the new THz source include developments of revolutionary sensors for biomolecular and DNA analysis (M. Schubert, A. Subramanian, E. Schubert, D.W. Thompson), breakthrough advances for revolutionary new multijunction solar cells (N. Ianno, R. Soukup, M. Schubert), adaptive optical coatings for THz emitter and detector systems (E. Schubert), ferroic nanostructures (J. Shield), thin film neutron detector structures (J. Brand), laser-assisted nanostructure self-assembled metamaterials (Y. Lu), power electronic device research (J. Hudgins), and others.

For further information please contact M. Schubert.

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