Ion-Sliced Lithium Tantalate for Terahertz Radiation Detection

Period of Performance: 10/28/2008 - 01/28/2011

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Srico, Inc.
2724 SAWBURY BOULEVARD Array
Columbus, OH 43235
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the need for compact and efficient detectors in the terahertz spectrum. Terahertz radiation is capable of penetrating fog and moderate density objects such as composites, wood and fabric at substantially higher resolutions and shorter ranges than radar. Although broadband THz detection has been reported in numerous literature accounts, there still is no cost effective and compact high resolution THz detection technology that operates at room temperature. Such features are keys to rapid and wide deployment of the technology. Pyroelectric thermal detectors are excellent candidates for broadband THz detection. The proposed technology employs novel materials processes to realize room temperature pyroelectric THz detector devices that are at least one hundred times more sensitive than commercially available devices. The technology is highly amenable to monolithic linear and two dimensional arrays for spectroscopic and imaging applications. In Phase II, SRICO would expand on the success of Phase I to achieve room temperature pyroelectric detectors with sensitivity approaching 100x the current commercially available devices. By application of suitable absorbers, the new thin film detectors will be operable over the entire terahertz spectrum of 100 GHz to 30 THz. BENEFIT: Applications of the new device technology include non destructive evaluation and inspection of aerospace materials and structures, imaging, spectroscopy and surveillance. Using spectroscopic techniques, THz radiation can be used for stand-off detection and imaging of aircraft structures, suspicious materials and chemicals. Deployment of these newly developed detector devices would result in successful implementation of a large number of important defense, industrial, medical, and environmental applications. Pyroelectric detectors may also be used as a transfer standard in the calibration of other terahertz detectors.