Terahertz Electronics

Michael Shur
ECSE, Physics, and Center for Integrated Electronics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180
shurm@rpi.edu (518) 276 2201
Keywords: Terahertz, Plasmons, FETs, HBTs, SOI, Gunn, IMPATT

Applications of terahertz technology include detection of biological and chemical hazardous agents, explosive detection, applications in building and airport security, radio astronomy and space research, and in biology and medicine, for example, in cancer diagnostics. These applications have stimulated a lot of interest in terahertz electronics technologies that have potential to replace or augment more traditional terahertz photonics techniques, such as Time Domain Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and THz dielectric spectroscopy. In addition to THz electronics technologies relying on the frequency multiplication using mostly Schottky diodes, THz transistor technology has emerged, since the device feature sizes have shrunk to the point, where ballistic mode of electron transport becomes important or even dominant. Both Heterostructure Bipolar Transistors (HBTs) and High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMTs) have reached cutoff frequencies approaching 1 THz. Recently, THz emitters based on the excitation of two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) plasmons at semiconductor heterointerfaces have been demonstrated opening up a new paradigm in the terahertz electronics. These sources are tunable and can be used together with THz plasmonic resonant and non-resonant detectors using the same technology. The challenge here is to increase efficiency and output power by orders of magnitude.
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