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Compact, Low-Cost THz Test System


OBJECTIVE: Develop a compact, low-cost test system with integrated control of temperature, electric field, and magnetic field for non-destructive characterization of novel electronic materials and devices at THz frequencies. DESCRIPTION: The region from 0.1 THz (1011 Hz) to 10 THz (1013 Hz) is a largely unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The lower end of this region, 94 GHz, is now being developed for radar and communications applications, and the upper end can bridge the gap with long-wavelength infrared. To explore the THz region, it is important to know which materials and devices will work effectively as sources, detectors, interconnects, and other passive components at such frequencies. Presently, very few commercial test systems are available in the THz region and those available tend to be bulky and costly. In addition, there is no test system that can be easily used to characterize materials and devices over a broad range of THz frequencies with integrated control of temperature and magnetic field. Therefore, a compact and low-cost test system will greatly facilitate and further stimulate the exploration of the THz region. Ideally, such a test system should provide the same level of convenience as in microwave and infrared test systems. For best performance and convenience, THz sources and detectors should be placed in close proximity to materials and devices being tested. This may require THz generation and detection within cryogenic and magnetic field environments. PHASE I: Design a prototype system operating in the frequency range 0.1 3 THz with integrated control of temperature, electric field and magnetic field. Process for making measurements and deriving selected material and device properties from measured THz spectral data should be outlined. Trade-off between size, cost and precision should be discussed. PHASE II: Build the test system in commercial format and include software to allow convenient measurement and subsequent analysis of electronic properties. In particular, include algorithms to calculate optical mobility and optical concentration in order to provide a non-destructive determination of electrical material properties. PHASE III: Demonstrate methods for effective non-destructive testing of specific device structures to determine their performance at THz frequencies. This test system is useful for characterizing materials and devices for radar, communications, chemical biological sensing, and other security applications. REFERENCES: 1. D. M. Mittleman, J. Cunningham, M. C. Nuss, and M. Geva,"Noncontact semiconductor wafer characterization with the terahertz Hall effect,"Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 71, pp. 16-18, 1997. 2. M. S. Sherwin, C. A. Schmuttenmaer, and P. H. Bucksbaum, Eds.,"DOE-NSF-NIH workshop opportunities in THz science,"[Online]. Available: (2004). 3. M. Naftaly, and R. E. Miles,"Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy for material characterization,"Proc. Of IEEE, vol. 95, pp.1658-1665, 2007. 4. R. Singh, Z. Tian, J. Han, C. Rockstuhl, J. Gu, and W. Zhang,"Cryogenic temperatures as a path toward high-Q terahertz metamaterials,"Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 96, p. 071114, 2010.
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