ESPRC funds £6.5m Coherent Terahertz Systems programme

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced the funding of a £6.5 million programme to create coherent terahertz systems with applications ranging from security to future quantum computers

The programme involves teams from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, UCL, the London Centre for Nanotechnology, the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds.

The THz frequency region is the last unexploited part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Lying between radio and optical frequencies, the bandwidth available is some 30 times greater than the entire allocated radio spectrum.

The main reason why this resource has been so little used is the complexity, bulk, high power consumption and lack of coherence of current THz technologies.

The programme will bring together the world leading teams that have pioneered THz quantum cascade lasers, microwave photonics and THz quantum state control to open up the THz spectrum for widespread scientific and commercial application, through the use for the first time of photonics-enabled coherent techniques.

The programme aims to maintain this pre-eminence and exploit it to establish UK leadership in wireless communications, with a thousand-fold enhancement in bandwidth available to untethered devices; in quantum information processing with optically controlled gates in silicon, and in advanced imaging technology, especially for biomedicine.

Principal Investigator for the programme, Professor Alwyn Seeds, Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL, said: "This programme will enable us to address the THz spectrum with the same precision and sensitivity as is today possible at radio frequencies, leading to this underused part of the electromagnetic spectrum finally achieving its full scientific and commercial potential."

For more information about this EPSRC Programme Grant, please see EPSRC Grants on the Web.