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Posted: January 20, 2010
European recognition for Leeds terahertz expertise
(Nanowerk News) Research into terahertz technology at the University of Leeds has received a major boost with a €2.5 million European grant.
The award – an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council – is in recognition of outstanding work in the field by Professor of Terahertz Electronics, Edmund Linfield. It is one of only 105 projects selected across Europe out of 736 applicants in physical sciences and engineering.
Professor Linfield will use the funding to study both the fundamental science and the potential applications of terahertz quantum cascade lasers. Quantum cascade lasers are small, and potentially portable, sources of radiation in the terahertz frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“The potential uses for terahertz technology are wide-ranging, but are currently limited to niche applications in fields such as pharmaceutical analysis and astronomy, as most systems on the market are both expensive and physically large,” explained Professor Linfield. “The availability of cheap, compact systems would open up a wide range of opportunities in fields including industrial process monitoring, security screening, atmospheric science, and medicine.”
The prestigious Advanced Investigator Grant award scheme is aimed at supporting the very best established research leaders to carry out pioneering work in their field. Leeds has had increasing success in the scheme, now in its second year. Professor Linfield’s grant follows an award in 2009 to Professor Giles Davies – also from the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering – and is one of two made to the University in 2010.
The School has one of the world’s leading research groups in terahertz technology and one of the largest university facilities for terahertz research internationally. It is also one of only a very small number of laboratories in the world to grow terahertz quantum cascade lasers, using a technique known as molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The School’s MBE system (costing around £1M), and Professor Linfield’s team’s expertise in using it, will underpin the research funded through this European grant.