Resonant Tunnelling Diode for High-Power Room-Temperature Terahertz Emission

Period of Performance: 07/24/2007 - 01/20/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Spire Corp.
One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Virginia
351 McCormick Rd ECE Dept., Thornton Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Institution POC


This Phase I STTR proposal involves the specification, conceptual design and analysis of staggered bandgap semiconductor heterostructures capable of producing interband resonant tunneling diodes (I?RTDs) with the potential for producing room-temperature terahertz oscillators with > 10 mW output power levels. Such unprecedented room-temperature terahertz power levels would enable deployment of entirely new instrumentation for monitoring chemical and biological agents and for standoff imaging of concealed threats, all of which are of great urgency for military and homeland defense. Based on promising preliminary studies carried out under US Army Research Office auspices, it has been shown that properly selected III-V compound semiconductor materials have the potential of producing I-RTD device structures capable of emitting terahertz radiation when optically triggered with short light pulses. Phase I will specify and analyze candidate I-RTD material structures and trigger light sources, select the most promising materials, and specify experimental methods for indirect measurement of device dynamics. Spire will subcontract the University of Virginia for assistance in applying models towards I?RTD device specification and design. Phase II will build and demonstrate a prototype I-RTD hybrid terahertz oscillator that exhibits > 10 mW across a significant portion of the terahertz frequency band.