CMOS Reconfigurable Terahertz Source and Detection Array for Fast High-Resolution Imaging/Sensing Applications

Project: Research

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The Central and HKSAR governments are keen to transform Hong Kong into a global innovation hub. To achieve this, we need an industry that opens to a worldwide market and one that can attract and retain talents with its sustainable growth which will last for decades. Market Research Future, an international research company, reported in October 2022 that the Sixth-Generation (6G) wireless communications market will reach USD 340 billion by the end of 2040, representing a compound annual growth rate of 58.1% from 2031 to 2040. In this project, we embark on the research on terahertz (THz) frontends for 6G and beyond, aiming at creating innovative technologies locally. While we cannot predict the yet-to-be-found killer applications for 6G, integrating different communications, imaging, and sensing functionalities in a wireless system is unavoidable. We propose to develop enabling technologies for reconfigurable THz source and detection array for fast and high-resolution imaging and sensing, paving the way for their integration with wireless communications. With the staunch support from the Innovation and Technology Commission since 2010, the State Key Laboratory of Terahertz and Millimeter Waves (City University of Hong Kong) is equipped with state-of-the-art antenna measurement systems and millimetre-wave and THz IC characterization platforms up to 1.1 THz. In 2017, we were awarded a 5-year Theme-Based Research Scheme (TRS) project (T42-103/16-N) funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council in which we developed record-high-power THz sources using low-cost 65-nm CMOS technology, THz Mueller matrix polarimetric imaging techniques, and a 1-bit space-time-coding metasurface antenna capable of converting guided waves into any desired free-space waves in both space and frequency domains. The THz sources were reported in papers published in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, whereas the metasurface antenna, operating at millimeter waves, was published in Nature Electronics.  Riding on the success of the TRS project, we propose to develop a spatiotemporally modulated THz source capable of radiating a reconfigurable beam at 340 GHz and a large-scale coherent heterodyne receiver array at 675 GHz for THz imaging and sensing. The THz source can provide beam scanning and beam focusing. For the receiver array, we will conveniently adopt the 640-to-690-GHz high-power (9.1 dBm) radiator chip developed in the TRS project as the illumination source. The receiver array can be redesigned to work at 340GHz afterward. Successful project execution would enable the integration of THz imaging and sensing into 6G, contributing to developing a sustainable industry in Hong Kong. 


Project number9043541
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/24 → …