The objective of this research is to design and construct a state-of-the-art terahertz near-field spectral imager. The approach is to combine recently developed computational sensing techniques and metamaterial-inspired electrically-small antenna technologies to achieve highly sub-wavelength imaging capabilities. This enhanced imaging capability will transform the current understanding of physical and biological processes as well as the engineering of terahertz devices and systems.
In contrast to existing commercially available terahertz instrumentation, the combination of advanced technologies will produce a terahertz near-field spectral imager with unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio and resolution. Participating students, postdocs, and faculty will gain invaluable practical experience as the individual components are integrated over the course of the project into a functioning state-of-the-art system that is then used to explore cutting-edge applications in biology and materials. In addition, the resulting instrument lays the groundwork for further research of all types in the terahertz band.
The resulting instrument will be made available not only to local researchers, but also to the wider terahertz community including local industry and national and international collaborators. This will allow the instrument's unique capabilities to be brought to bear on a variety of terahertz research areas with high societal and economic impact, including spectroscopy of phononic nanostructures; investigations of passive and active metamaterials; and studies of biological processes in single cells. These opportunities will strongly encourage students, especially from underrepresented groups and ethnically diverse populations, for example, the Native American Tohono O'odham Nation, to participate.