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DCU researchers develop space sensors for European Space Agency

The Terahertz (THz, or millimetre wave) region of the electromagnetic spectrum (at about 300 - 3000 GHz in frequency or 0.1 - 1 mm free space wavelength) has enormous potential for spectroscopy, astronomy, space research, medicine, biology, surveillance, remote sensing, industrial process control and high-data-rate communications. It has been described as the most scientifically rich, yet under-utilized, region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The THz spectral region is highly important for cosmology and astronomy and Terahertz space applications and missions incorporating THz astronomy are becoming increasing important to improve our knowledge about the interstellar medium, star-forming regions and planetary atmospheres in our galaxy.Through funding from the European Space Agency, DCU researchers are developing novel photonic based THz sources that can potentially be used in future ESA science missions to enhance our understanding of the galaxy and its formation. The photonic based THz sources offer advantages of low power consumption, and small footprint, which are key parameters for THz based sensors using in orbital payloads.

The research was undertaken by DCU researchers (Rince Institute) Dr. Regan Watts and Prof. Liam Barry

18th May, 2015

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