Quasi-Optical Systems

Contact: Nuria Llombart

The THz region was, traditionally, limited to applications in radio astronomy and space science. In recent years, THz systems have expanded into many more areas of science, defense, security, and non-destructive industrial applications. Microwave based THz cameras have demonstrated the highest sensitivity at large distances. However, their current state of the art is comparable to the first analog photographic cameras characterized by long exposition times. Two fundamental problems have to be addressed to change this situation: technologically, there is the lack of integrated coherent arrays with high power and sensitivity; and theoretically, a field representation to characterize analytically these systems is missing.

The projects in this theme tackle the technological problem by exploiting the coherency between small antenna arrays coupled to actuated lenses to overcome the sensitivity problem and achieve instantaneous refocusing (i.e. zooming). The proposed antenna technology is based on a recent breakthrough: micro-lenses excited by leaky waves with seamless integration in silicon technology. This antenna enables the fabrication of large flies eye cameras in just two wafers, and promises one order of magnitude better scanning performances than previous solutions.

Regarding theory, an analytical model to investigate the electromagnetic response of coherent THz arrays is the enabling tool for optimizing the camera performances. We will develop this tool by combining advance spectral antenna techniques with coherent Fourier Optics. This model will not only be used in new beamforming techniques, but also for the characterization of future THz telecommunication links.

Projects under this theme

Concealed Objects Stand-Off Real-Time Imaging for Security

The project will develop a demonstrator for stand-off real-time concealed object detection for future implementations of high throughput security screening for European mass-transit markets and infrastructure security.

THz Imaging Phenomenology Platforms for Stand-off IED Detection funded by the European Defense Agency

The objectives of the Project are to produce an imagery phenomenology study for evaluation of the detection problem centred around the detection of concealed objects and map the route towards potential applications.

Kinetic Inductance Detectors: a new imaging technology for observations in and from space

Imaging arrays of kinetic inductance detectors for space-based astronomical and earth observation applications

THz silicon-integrated camera for low-cost imaging applications

Develop a real-time multi pixel passive radiometer, operating between 0.1 THz and 1THz, integrated in a silicon based technology, with temperature resolution better than 1K

MSc students

  • Alumni

  • Sjoerd Bosma (2017)