Surface plasmon enhanced tunneling diode detection of THz radiation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0120
Agency Tracking Number: F09B-T33-0123
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF09-BT33
Solicitation Number: 2009.B
Small Business Information
ITN Energy Systems, Inc.
8130 Shaffer Parkway, Littleton, CO, 80127
DUNS: 040245305
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Russell Hollingsworth
 Senior scientist
 (303) 285-5154
 rhollingsworth@itnes.com
Business Contact
 Debra Werges
Title: Contract administration
Phone: (303) 285-5129
Email: dwerges@itnes.com
Research Institution
 Colorado School of Mines
 Ralph Brown
 1500 Illinois St.
Golden, CO, 80401
 (303) 273-3538
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer Research phase I program will develop a new class of uncooled THz detectors for the 1-10THz band with a novel design using surface plasmon resonant cavities with integrated metal-insulator-metal tunneling diodes as the detecting element. Tunneling diodes provide ultrafast broadband response, potentially into the visible (300THz), but demonstrated performance using antenna coupled diodes has been disappointing for a variety of reasons. The proposed approach solves all of the problems limiting antenna coupled detectors. In particular, the design allows for large, tunable collection area to optimize the tradeoff between signal/noise ratio and image resolution, high efficiency power coupling into the tunneling diode detector, and wavelength scaling through geometric parameters with a single detector technology. This program will examine the fundamental mechanisms involved through closely coupled finite element modeling, nanofabrication of test structures operating at 28THz, and detailed optical characterization. Detailed designs for the 1-10THz band will be developed through modeling. BENEFIT: THz imaging has great potential for applications ranging from biological imaging, security screening, and material characterization. The lack of highly sensitive, low power, low cost detectors that can be fabricated into arrays has prevented the introduction of commercial imagers. This program will develop uncooled detector elements for advanced THz focal plane array imagers, greatly expanding the commercial market.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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