Terahertz Imaging





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Published on Oct 12, 2013

This talk in Hebrew is an IBM Research - Haifa seminar presented on September 10, 2013 by Dr. Evgeny Shumaker of IBM Research - Haifa, a member of the Analog and Mixed Signal group in the Haifa lab led by Danny Elad.

The Analog and Mixed Signal group in IBM Research - Haifa has been active for several years in the field of silicon based photonic devices for Terahertz and the millimeter waves. The team is currently developing new groundbreaking imaging technology towards the implementation of full pixel arrays to serve for uncooled THz cameras. Due to the very low scattering of THz waves through dry materials, such cameras will serve a broad range of applications, including passenger screening for terminal security and for medical imaging of human tissues.

The THz region of the electro-magnetic spectrum is considered the last technological frontier to be crossed. Due to the lack of established sources and detectors, the frequencies between 100 GHz to 10 THz are called the "Terahertz gap". All bodies emit broadband radiation power, including at Terahertz frequencies, according to their temperature and to what they are made of. A passive imager is a kind of camera that is capable of detecting these weak signals. We aim to bridge this gap by converging from two complementary directions: by pushing IBM SiGe technology to its boundaries, we develop high frequency electronic components to amplify and detect the signals; we also tackle the detection of waves that are beyond the capabilities of modern silicon technology by converting their power into temperature variations, which are then detected by thermal micro-sensors.

Establishing a technological leadership in the field of passive (and perhaps active) Terahertz imaging will create new market opportunities for IBM's technology. The challenges involved and the level of innovation required for succeeding in our goals make this activity a natural candidate for promoting collaborations with the academic world. Eight conference proceedings and papers were published in the course of the FRR sponsorship, in addition to the filing of eleven patent applications.

A new cutting-edge imaging laboratory was set up in the first months of 2013 in HRL with the purpose of testing and calibrating the new pixels and focal plane arrays under development. The very encouraging preliminary results achieved so far lead to making contact and initial negotiations with system oriented companies for further development and commercialization of our technologies.


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