Leeds to research terahertz nanoelectronics

Researchers at Leeds University are researching the behaviour and properties of nanoscale systems within the least explored area of the electromagnetic spectrum, the terahertz region.

The Leeds team has secured a grant of £2m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to study the properties and enable advances in the development of nanoelectronic devices for use in industry, medicine and biotechnology.

The combined expertise at Leeds will fuse nanoscience with high frequency science, which focuses on high-speed electronics.

Project leader Dr John Cunningham of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering said: ‘The dimensions of electronic devices have reduced so much that they can be literally a few atoms in size, but at this scale, they exhibit different properties than their larger scale counterparts. These properties can be directly revealed or even changed using radiation from the terahertz region of the spectrum.

‘If we want to continue to provide ever-smaller electronic systems that work at ever-faster speeds, we must find new ways of enabling this development by understanding exactly how they work. It’s an exciting project for us because we’re bringing together two areas of fundamental science that have rarely been studied together.’

The four-year project will develop new methods to examine and assess nanoscale electronic systems using terahertz radiation, Future applications may include the development of new nanoscale high-frequency electronic devices in areas such as sensing, imaging and spectroscopy, and ultimately in communications.