Project: Development Of Novel Transmitters And Receivers based on Graphene for the Enhancement of mm/submm-wave Technologies

For a long time, the existence of mm/submm and terahertz bands – commonly the term ‘terahertz’ can denote frequencies above 300 GHz – was neglected from a pragmatic point of view: no applications were implemented, so the required equipment was not available and vice versa. In recent years, they came to life thanks to space and Earth observations, performed COly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As a consequence, few devices were (and are been) developed for research purposes, implying high costs and low competition in the market. Nowadays, while the demand for higher bandwidths in radiocommunications nudges the upper limit of microwaves, the identification of new applications also require the effective development of devices to successfully fill the so called terahertz gap. _x000D__x000D_In this context, our goal consists in bridging the existing technological gap in the implementation of mm/submm-wave systems through the development of high performance graphene based nonlinear components for the efficient generation and detection of mm/submm signals._x000D__x000D_Their features, such as lightweight, compact size, low cost and power consumption, are based on the inclusion of graphene as one of the keys for the design of the end products. These characteristics altogether will make a real difference in the field of mm/submm-wave transmitters and receivers and their components, i.e. multipliers, mixers._x000D__x000D_But, why graphene-based components? Graphene is a one atom thick layer of carbon that has become the topic of multiple studies since the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in 2010. An endless variety of applications have surged due to its unusual and special properties, e.g. high electron mobility. In particular, our interest focuses on its nonlinear behaviour observed in previous researches accomplished by the consortoium at microwave frequencies [1,2], which allow multipliers and mixers to be built employing graphene layers previously obtained from graphites. Besides, evidences have been found in [3] that graphene emits terahertz radiation when optically stimulated. This proof of concept in the terahertz region in joint with our know-how and experience in other frequency bands establish the basis to develop novel, versatile and innovative transmitters and receivers in the range 220-325 GHz, covering a wide spectrum of applications._x000D__x000D_Therefore, our end products will be designed and thought to be integrated in mm/submm-wave systems with no restriction in their final uses but just small modifications in the design to fulfil their requisites. As a consequence, our target market includes Non-Destructive Test (NDT), security, spectroscopy, medicine, pharmacy, wireless communications, sensors or aerospace applications in the mm/submm-wave bands. All of them need transmitters, receivers and the components they are made of complying with their specifications. Moreover, our products will guarantee the aforementioned value-added features which will be welcomed in a market consisting of a small number of companies that, according to recently published reports, will exponentially grow in the coming years from $12 million in 2007 (Thintri Inc.) to $400 million in 2017 (Fuji-Keizai USA) and $521 million in 2018 (BCC Research). _x000D_ _x000D_A solid consortium of highly relevant and complementing Ps has been formed to achieve our objectives. Treelogic is a R&D-performing SME and, as the project coordinator, has wide experience in managing national and European research projects. In addition to this, Treelogic actively participates in the development of prototypes in the terahertz band through its research line “Applications of terahertz technology”. _x000D_Sivers IMA is another R&D-performing SME with significant experience in the field of microwaves, including subsystem integration and end-product manufacturing, and sees its participation as a way of exploring a new technology and its potential use for terahertz applications._x000D_University of Oviedo has actively participated in research projects – regional, national and international – dealing with the design, implementation and integration of transmitters and receivers for different sectors and in collaboration with other companies._x000D__x000D_[1] G. Hotopan, S. Ver Hoeye, C. Vázquez, et al., “Millimeter wave microstrip mixer based on graphene” Progress in Electromagnetics Research, vol. 118, pp. 57-69, 2011._x000D__x000D_[2] R. Camblor, S. Ver Hoeye, C. Vázquez, G. Hotopan, M. Fernández, F. Las Heras, P. Álvarez, R. Menéndez, “Microwave Frequency Tripler Based on a Microstrip Gap with Graphene”, Journal of Electromagnetics Waves and Applications, vol. 25, issue 14-15, pp. 1921-1929, Oct. 2011. _x000D__x000D_[3] L. Prechtel, L. Song, D. Schuh, et al., “Time-resolved ultrafast photocurrents and terahertz generation in freely suspended graphene”, Nature Communications, vol. 3, April 2012 [on line].

Acronym ON TARGET (Reference Number: 7357)
Duration 01/11/2012 - 31/03/2015
Project Topic ON TARGET project goal is to design, develop and test graphene-based transmitters and receivers in the mm/submm-wave band to provide reliable, efficient and low-cost devices to be integrated in systems for a wide range of applications, including space, quality control, medicine, security, etc.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
ON TARGET is a project that was aimed to develop a graphene-based imaging system in the frequency band from 220 to 325 GHz. In order to assume this challenge, the final propotype is made of different blocks that were designed, fabricated and validated in accordance with tasks described in the work plan. The CO outcomes of the project can be listed as follows:_x000D_1. Graphene-based frequency multiplier_x000D_2. Graphene-based frequency mixer_x000D_3. Horn antenna for transmission and reception in the 220-325 GHz band_x000D_4. Transmitter in the 220-325 GHz band_x000D_5. Receiver in the 220-325 GHz band_x000D_6. Microwave equipment for the measurement of the output signal_x000D_7. Signal sources in the microwave band_x000D_Outcomes from 1 to 5 belong (in terms of IPR) to Treelogic, while 6 and 7 have been developed by Sivers IMA. This is a strategy adopted from the beginning that allows Ps to exploit the results in different markets and with no dependance on the other parties. Nevertheless, a joint exploitation plan is also possible when referrening to the whole system.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Treelogic Telemática y Lógica Racional para la Empresa Europea S.L. Coordinator Spain
2 SIVERSIMA Partner Sweden