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Importance

The UK has pioneered the exploitation of the THz spectrum through companies such as Teraview, and is well placed to exploit the outcomes from this Programme through an ecosystem of technology SMEs and large systems companies.

 

This Programme will create a high volume market through the ability to address the spectrum with the precision that is commonplace at lower frequencies, with compact, low cost and low power consumption technology.

Within 10 years of Programme completion we expect to see widespread adoption of THz ultra-broadband wireless technology for indoor "super Wi-Fi" applications", a > $1b pa market opportunity based on current equipment sales for conventional systems of $0.7b pa 14% CAGR (Infonetics). We also expect to see widespread use of THz sensing and imaging systems in production control, security and medical applications, a > $0.5b pa, 37% CAGR opportunity (BCC Research).

On the 50 year horizon our work on atomic state manipulation will enable a revolution in information processing, which will certainly be required as it becomes physically impossible to scale down gate dimensions to continue Moore's Law.

The higher photon energy of THz signals removes the current requirement for sub-1K operation in microwave atomic state manipulation, but practical adoption has been severely constrained by the need to use large facilities such as free-electron lasers. The technology we plan to develop may thus be able to show the way forward to both classical and quantum logic gates with speed/power exceeding current extrapolations for conventional Si technology. This would revolutionise information processing and represents an important opportunity for the UK, given that it is unencumbered by a legacy silicon fabrication industry.

Our work will also contribute to the scientific exploration of materials in programmes such as EPSRC COMPASS, by making it possible to carry out spectroscopy in a lab-based rather than facility based environment. One fascinating possibility is the creation of new solid-state THz amplifiers and lasers by state manipulation in suitable crystalline materials.