Terahertz CMOS debuts at ISSCC
February 22, 2012 // R. Colin Johnson
Downsizing big bulky terahertz (THz) detectors for integration on CMOS image chips has been accomplished by the University of Texas (Dallas) with funding from the Semiconductor Research Corporation. (SRC). Accomplished under SRC’s Focus Research Program, the demonstration of terahertz speeds on standard CMOS opens a door for a new slew of consumer devices that can see through solid objects.
"We can now build a CMOS image chip for a cell-phone-sized camera module that sees in the terahertz range," said Ken O, a professor and lead researcher for SRC’s program at UT Dallas and a key investigator in the Center for Circuit and System Solutions, a part of SRC’s Focus Center Research Program.
Today terahertz cameras are used, for instance, in the airport to see inside luggage and under clothing to detect hidden weapons, but the devices require expensive discrete components. By downsizing terahertz sensors for standard CMOS chips, the terahertz camera can be both size and cost reduced in the extreme.
"Inexpensive handheld terahertz cameras could be used to detect counterfeit money or documents, to see inside envelopes or packages, or to find where the studs, wires and pipes are in walls," said O.
The key to SRC's successful integration of terahertz imager on-a-chip is the discovery that high-speed Schottky diodes can be easily fabricated in CMOS. Even at the relaxed design rules of130 nanometer used for the demonstration chip, the high-speed Schottky diodes were able to achieve THz-range performance without changing the standard CMOS processing steps.
"We have figured out how to create high-speed Schottky diodes in CMOS without changing the process, just the layout," said O. "We just take an active region where a transistor would normally go, and don't draw the source-drain implantation mask layer, resulting in a Schottky diode."
All the details on how to make terahertz image arrays using Schottky diodes is presented in a paper entitled "280 GHz and 860 GHz Image Sensors Using Schottky-Barrier Diodes in 0.13 µm Digital CMOS," at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week in San Francisco.
Many other application areas should be able to profit from terahertz CMOS, which works as well as x-rays, but which are safe, non-destructive and non-invasive. Besides terahertz cameras, the new high-speed Schottky diode process should also enable cheaper safer medical scanners, cost-reduced security systems, and high-speed telecommunications applications.
The results of all the technologies developed with SRC-funded projects are available to other members which include Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Freescale Semiconductor Inc., Globalfoundries Inc., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., and Texas Instruments Inc. All news
The engineering desk-to-bench ratio
November 21, 2014
Dennis Feucht discusses the right and wrong, senior and junior ways to organize the theoretical and practical work of an ...
Rohm's European Design Center in growth phase
Combo inertial sensor market on 19% CAGR, says Yole.
US, China pushing industrial chip market growth, says IHS
LA Auto Show: Hydrogen fuel cell drive is back
Opening up the IoT data flood gates
November 21, 2014
Only a few days after their LoRa long range communication demo at electronica, IBM and Semtech are making the LoRa MAC protocol ...
Polarizing filter reduces energy drain from smartphone displays
From warm to cool white: colour-temperature tunable LEDs
System provides high-volume solution for flexible OLED displays
- Halogen-free options and increased performance for terminal blocks
- Wireless Power User Guide
- Secure is the New Smart
- 5 Best Practices for Designing Flexible Test Stations
InterviewFreescale CEO: 'IoT isn't just buzz'
Coming after the solid third quarter results that produced higher operating margins and improving cash flow, Freescale Semiconductor's CEO Gregg Lowe had every reason to be chipper and lively when EE Times ...
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
This month, Cherry is giving away five of its Energy Harvesting Evaluation kits, worth over 266 Euros each, for EETimes Europe's readers to win. Cherry's energy harvesting technology benefit mostly applications where a complex wire assembly and/or batteries would be inappropriate.
The required RF-energy is created by the mechanical actuation of the switch and the data is transmitted...MORE INFO AND LAST MONTH' WINNERS...
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.
Most popular news
- Could magnesium battery innovation end lithium's dominance?
- From warm to cool white: colour-temperature tunable LEDs
- Li-Fi communication module wirelessly transfers data at 1-Gbps
- Supercapacitor innovation promises panel-powered cars in five years
- Rebranding the revolution: the future of IoT is embedded