Research Project Seeking to Develop Commercial Applications for Terahertz Imaging Technologies Commences

The kick-off meeting of CELTA, a pan-European research project, including researchers from University College Dublin (UCD), has taken place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Horizon 2020 funded CELTA project is seeking to develop commercial applications using novel Terahertz (THz) imaging technologies.

While visible light has wavelengths smaller that a micron (one thousandth of a mm) THz waves have wavelengths of about one tenth of a mm in size. At these larger wavelengths a whole range of materials become transparent when illuminated by THz waves.

Using this imaging technology permits, for example, new ways of seeing inside the human body without the dangers associated with excessive X-ray imaging. THz systems also offer the potential of bridging the gap between current high-speed optical and electronic communication systems.

CELTA (Convergence of Electronics and Photonics Technologies for Enabling Terahertz Applications), an Innovative Training Network (ITN) project, has received funding of €4 million through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme.

During the four-year project a group of 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) will graduate with PhDs in this field. These researchers will enable Europe to take a leading role in the multidisciplinary area of utilising Terahertz technology for applications involving components and complete systems for sensing, instrumentation, imaging, spectroscopy, and communications.

These technologies are key to tackling challenges and creating solutions in a large number of focus areas relevant for societal challenges identified in the Horizon 2020 programme.

CELTA will also integrate multidisciplinary scientific expertise, complementary skills and experience working in academia and industry, to empower these researchers to work in interdisciplinary teams.

Speaking after the recent CELTA kick-off meeting Professor John Sheridan, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a member of the CELTA consortium said, “The development of Terahertz technology is currently a very hot topic internationally. The ability to perform extended real-time, non-contact observation of living patients’ organs; to warn drivers of vehicles of pedestrians approaching from out of view; to identify defects in structures; or see hidden security threats all make this technology, if used appropriately, very appealing.”

He added, “CELTA will provide PhD degrees to a group of early-stage researchers, educating them with a set of interdisciplinary skills covering photonics, electronics and signal processing that will allow them to create advanced Terahertz systems with emphasis on making them available for commercial applications.”

CELTA is co-ordinated by Professor Idelfonso Tafur Monroy from the Technical University of Denmark. CELTA is comprised of 11 leading research institutions from Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Ireland, through UCD. CELTA is supported and complemented by 14 partner organisations from industry, including 4 spin-outs from the CELTA consortium.

Professor Tom Brazil, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and also a member of CELTA consortium said, “I am delighted that UCD is part of the CELTA research project which is embedded within and contributes to key research, innovation and education areas within our School. This research project will contribute to the European Research Area by helping to overcome the gap between the fragmented efforts in Europe on electronics and photonics Terahertz by introducing the strategy of converged electronics and photonics co-design in its research programme.”

He added, “CELTA makes a special effort on establishing a common engineering language in its training programme across the electronics, photonics and applications disciplines. We believe this common engineering language and converged co-design is mandatory to make the next logical step towards efficient and innovative solutions that can reach the market.”

He concluded, “CELTA is a welcome addition to our ongoing Internet of Things activities which is being actively pursued at the IoE2 Lab in UCD.”

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