MUNICH, Germany A research team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany) has created antennas for multi-terahertz frequencies. The devices could form a cornerstone of extremely powerful future data networks.
By means of electron beam lithography tools, the scientist group led by Hans-Juergen Eisler has crafted arrays of antennas made of gold on a glass substrate. With their size of between 70 and 250 nanometers they form half-lambda resonator elements for a broad spectrum of light waves, Eisler explained.
The wavelengths the antennas are designed for correlate with frequencies of 500.000 GHz and more. Of course, no semiconductor elements are available to drive these antennas. For this reason, they are excited with white light; each antenna gets into resonance for its specific frequency (= light color), forming a frequency multiplex broadband array for data transmission with data rates 10.000 times higher than existing wireless broadband technologies, the institute claims. Modulation of the light beams is achieved by application of the superposition principle, Eisler explained.
Since no semiconductors are available to drive the antennas electrically, the research group focuses on unconventional methods to transmit and receive data. "Actually we should develop nano switching elements that make use of quantum technology", Eisler said. While quantum computers still are in a very early stage of development, a technical use of these optical antennas could be possible within five to ten years, Eisler believes.
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Karlsruhe Institute of Technology