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Metamaterials-Based Device for Generation of Broadband Terahertz Radiation

Stage: Development
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a metamaterials-based terahertz emitter that could drastically improve communication speeds and imaging resolution.

The terahertz gap, which lies between the infrared and millimeter spectral regions (from approximately 100 GHz to 15THz) poses one of the most demanding challenges for technology and fundamental science today. The lack of efficient light sources and detectors makes THz physics one of the least explored parts of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. This is despite the underlying demand in the fields of communication and sensing, to push the gigahertz switching speed limit of today’s logic/memory/wireless communication devices into the terahertz range and to extend the conventional visible/infrared spectrum of today’s security and medical imaging devices into the THz spectrum, which provides more transparency and has more distinct spatial signatures suitable for non-invasive and label-free imaging. 

ISU researchers have accomplished efficient broadband, single-cycle THz pulse generation by developing a novel THz emitter from metamaterials. This efficient and compact THz source is extremely useful for many applications including integrated nano-photonics and nano-electronic circuits, high-speed information and communication technology and ultra-small, non-invasive biological and medical evaluation.


Applications and Industries

Imaging (medical and security), Communication, Manufacturing and Scientific


Faster communication/computing speeds

Further miniaturization of devices

Improved resolution imaging

Label-free evaluation

Metamaterial-based emitter outperforms thin film and crystal-based emitters