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HyperSpectral Terahertz neAR-field nanoscope exploiting miniaturized frequency-combs

Project description

Creating a new nanoscope with a graphene-integrated semiconductor heterostructure laser

Ever-finer lasers can open new ways to gaze on the smallest objects, such as the structures of proteins. The EU-funded STAR project will further develop such nanoscale imaging with the creation of a new graphene-integrated, quantum cascade laser that operates at terahertz frequencies. The project aims to provide a compact and low-cost solution to create amplitude- and phase-resolved images without making use of an external detector. The resulting nanoscope will be able to image objects between 40 100 nm. The project will develop a prototype and demonstrate the technology at trade shows with commercial end users and could see uses in biology, medicine, and materials science.


‘STAR’ aims to increase the technology readiness level of the state-of-the-art graphene-integrated, miniaturized frequency comb (FC) quantum cascade laser (QCL), operating at terahertz (THz) frequencies, devised under the ERC consolidator grant ‘SPRINT’, and develop a detector-less sensing/imaging demonstrator apt to the translation of this technology to industrial end-users.

The focus is on providing a compact, low-cost, hyperspectral, nanoscale imaging system, which creates amplitude- and phase-resolved images, employing the not-invasive broadband THz-frequency light of a metrological frequency-comb source, without making use of an external detector.
This nanoscope ensures 40-100 nm spatial resolution, >100 times smaller than the THz free-space wavelength, coherent detection and mapping of the THz optical response of materials over the continuous 2-5 THz bandwidth provided by a fully stabilized THz QCL FC, with noise-equivalent-power <10pW/√Hz and fast (
Specific objectives are to manufacture a compact, portable and user-friendly THz hyperspectral nanoscope, validate its core technology with commercial end-users and at trade-shows and evaluate opportunities for THz FC self-detection nanoscopy, identifying novel end-user applications, with a detailed market, IPR and regulatory compliance study. By the end of this programme, I plan to identify a solid exploitation route by directly interacting with THz instrument producers and with targeted commercial end-users.

Pushing forward a solid commercial exploitation route, STAR prospects new directions and long-term impacts on many interdisciplinary fields crossing engineering, biology, medicine, cultural heritage, material science and quantum technology, and in a frontier frequency domain where electronics and photonics find a fascinating convergence.



Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Piazzale aldo moro 7
00185 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
No data