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Groundbreaking Terahertz-Wave Detector Developed by Tohoku University Researchers

Research team at Tohoku University develops a high-speed, high-sensitivity THz-wave detector that operates at room temperature, promising advancements in 6G/7G communications.

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BNN Correspondents
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Groundbreaking Terahertz-Wave Detector Developed by Tohoku University Researchers

A groundbreaking breakthrough in terahertz-wave detection technology has been achieved by a research team at Tohoku University, led by Akira Satou. The team has successfully developed a high-speed, high-sensitivity terahertz-wave (THz) detector that operates at room temperature, a significant advancement that could revolutionize future 6G/7G communication technologies. The details of this remarkable innovation were published in the esteemed journal Nanophotonics on November 9, 2023.

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Unlocking Terahertz Technology

Terahertz waves, which occupy the spectrum between microwaves and infrared light, ranging from 300 gigahertz to 3 THz, are crucial for enhancing communication speeds. However, detecting THz waves at room temperature quickly and sensitively has always posed a significant challenge for traditional semiconductor devices that operate on electronic or photonic principles.

Breaking Through the Limitation

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The team's breakthrough is centered around the innovative use of two-dimensional plasmons in a semiconductor field-effect transistor. These plasmons, collective charge-density quanta, exhibit fluid-like behaviors. This characteristic allows them to enable nonlinear rectification effects and rapid response times, making them ideal for detecting THz waves at room temperature effectively.

The Innovative THz Detector

The detector developed by Satou's team relies on a 3D plasmonic rectification effect in an indium-phosphide high-electron mobility transistor. This method significantly enhances detection sensitivity compared to conventional methods. Moreover, this novel detection method addresses waveform distortion issues caused by multiple signal reflections, a common problem in traditional detectors. The research was a collaborative effort involving Tetsuya Suemitsu from Tohoku University's New Industry Creation Hatchery Center and Hiroaki Minamide from RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics. The team remains optimistic about further improving the device's performance in future.

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