SBIR Phase I: Ultrafast Optoelectronic Devices Based on Field Emission

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Deseret Electronics Research Corporation
762 Lacey Way
North Salt Lake, UT 84054
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project proposes to determine the feasibility of using photomixing (optical heterodyning) in resonant laser-assisted field emission as a new means for generating terahertz (THz) radiation. The many applications of THz radiation include imaging (package inspection, structural examination, cancer detection), spectroscopy (catalysis, reaction kinetics, environmental studies), astronomy (local oscillators, imaging arrays), and high-bandwidth communications. However, researchers describe "hurdles" caused by present THz sources, including limited bandwidth and power. A resonance of optical radiation with tunneling electrons, discovered in quantum simulations, was used to gate field emission current with a laser. Because the tip is much smaller than the laser wavelength, electron emission varies at the optical frequency, and field emission is highly nonlinear, so signals from DC to 100 THz could be generated by photomixing.