25 November 2010
UK spinout set to transform usage of terahertz electronics?
A new UK company which claims it will transform the use of terahertz electronics has been awarded a prize worth £10,000 in the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Business Plan Competition 2010. Teratech Components, a spinout from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will use the monies towards exploiting the commercial applications of terahertz (THz) electronics beyond traditional aerospace and medical markets.
The technology being exploited by Teratech Components depends on the fabrication of electronic devices that operate above 100GHz, where traditional electronic circuits no longer function. It is a generic device technology that can be used as both a detector and source of THz radiation, opening the potential for very high frequency communication systems and radars. The devices, Schottky Diodes, operate at room temperature, rather than under cryogenic conditions like most competitor technologies, significantly simplifying system infrastructure and reducing cost.
THz is non-ionising, and therefore safe to humans. It penetrates a wide variety of non-conducting materials including clothing, paper, plastics and ceramics, and can also penetrate fog and clouds, but is strongly absorbed by metal and water. The Earth's atmosphere is a strong absorber of terahertz radiation across most of the spectrum although there are narrow less absorbing window bands making it an ideal technique for observing the planet's climate.
Byron Alderman from STFC, who leads the Teratech team, said: "Our vision is to transform the use of terahertz electronics technology and working towards the Business Plan Competition is helping us towards achieving this aim. The competition has involved working closely with business and industry to develop our skills in business planning."
The RCUK Business Plan Competition has been running for six years and has helped researchers work with business and industry to gain the appropriate skills to turn their work into successful business applications.
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