The Institute for High Frequency and Quantum Electronics specializes in the development of photonic and quantum and electronic components for information technology, sensorics, security and the life sciences.
One priority focus is terahertz technology. This frequency range, located in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared radiation, has a great potential for a wide range of applications. The research at the Institute for High Frequency and Quantum Electronics includes simulation, modeling and development of THz components and systems and the exploration of new application areas in close collaboration with national and international working groups.
The Terahertz frequency range
The Terahertz or Submillimeter frequency range, roughly defined as extending from 300GHz to 10THz, is one of the long-standing breaches in the electromagnetic spectrum. Developments in the last decades have led to the development of highly sophisticated systems routinely operating in this frequency range, which are used to great benefit in fields such as astronomy or atmospheric sensing.
However, until recently, this spectral region has resisted attempts to broadly harness its potential for everyday applications. This led to the expression THz gap, loosely describing the lack of adequate technologies to effectively bridge this transition region between microwaves and optics, both readily accessible via well-developed electronic and laser-based approaches.
Intense research in recent years enabled technological prospects to develop broad applicable terahertz systems and identified a wide variety of interdisciplinary fields of applications. THz research is currently in a key phase and will shortly extend our analytical methods drastically due to its intrinsic advantages:
- Many optically opaque materials are transparent in the THz range. This enables novel applications in analysis and imaging for research and technology;
- THz radiation is non-ionizing and therefore non-hazardous for biomedical analysis and is thus an alternative to standard x-ray;
- Specific THz molecular rotations and vibrations enable to selectively identify molecules or molecule groups without the use of markers;
- THz radiation offers crucial insights into the electronic dynamics of semiconductors, metals and nano structures, whereas the latter play an particular important role for photonic and electronic components and systems;
- In contrast to optical wavelengths, THz radiation is scattered less and therefore suitable for harsh environments, e.g. robotic vision and process control in industrial production conditions.
The research activities at the university comprise simulations, modelling and development of THz systems and the exploration of novel application areas in close interdisciplinary cooperation with national and international research groups and partners from industry.