Graphene Electromagnetic Emitter: A Terahertz Frequency Source

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To date, sources and detectors operating in 0.1 to 10 THz spectrum have been inefficient or too difficult to fabricate because the frequencies are too high for electronics or too slow for optical devices. This section of the spectrum is broadly known as the Terahertz (THz) gap.

The Graphene Electromagnetic Emitter (GEME) has been designed to fill some of the THz gap. It is a new type of frequency source designed to produce terahertz frequencies based on a synchrotron architecture and a graphene Field Effect Transistor (FET). This frequency source produces a single frequency output ranging from 10 GHz to 1000 GHz (0.01 to 1 THz) with 1 mW of output power. The preliminary power dissipation is expected to be less than 20W for a device of this size for any frequency in this range.

A GEME operating at THz frequencies enables many interesting and useful applications for communications, spectroscopy, non-destructive testing, terahertz imaging, medical imaging, and scientific imaging. THz radiation can be used to inspect aircraft components, explore the composition of galaxies and nebulas, scan for tumors in tissue, inspect packages, identify hazardous substances or biohazards, identify chemical composition of materials, detect weapons and explosives, non-destructively test materials, and provide more detailed spectrographic information about materials.

The GEME competes favorably in the microwave com (0.3 to 30 GHz), satellite com (18 to 40 GHz), millimeter wave (30 to 300 GHz), terahertz electronics (300 to 3000 GHz), and pharmacy automation (100 to 10,000 GHz) markets. The size of each respective market is forecast to be $1.2 B, $2 B, $1 B, $0.57 B, and $3.9 B from 2016 to 2020 depending on the market and study referenced. Presently, frequency sources at just 100 GHz are very expensive or are built using many discrete components. A commercial GEME is highly compact, rugged, expected to be at least half the cost relative to other solutions on the market today, and projected to be much more reliable than vacuum devices and quantum cascade lasers.

The GEME is a graphene Field Effect Transistor (FET) surrounded by a magnet array that produces a periodic alternating magnetic field that is perpendicular to the graphene channel. This alternating magnetic field produces an alternating force on the electrons traveling in the graphene channel of the FET causing the electronics to accelerate and emit electromagnetic wave. The frequency of the electromagnetic waves depends on the period of the magnet array, field strength, and the velocity of the electrons in the graphene channel. The output power depends on the electron density and the area of the graphene channel(s). Graphene is a one atom thick crystal of carbon where the carbon atoms are arranged in a hexagon pattern. Electrons move through graphene with the highest velocity known to date and act like photons. The graphene FET part of the GEME would be built at semiconductor fab and assembled into a package along with power and monitoring circuits at an assembler in a small cleanroom. To learn more go to .

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  • Name:
    Jay Morreale
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    I've been studying nanotechnology and was looking for ways to image nanostructures and materials with something that was more affordable to a small research team or small business than instruments like an electron microscope. My design enables some of this and I will be working to build a proof-of-concept prototype, extend its frequency range, extend the output power, and lower the cost.
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