Terahertz reflectarrays and nonuniform metasurfaces

Daniel Headland, Tiaoming Niu, Eduardo Carrasco, Derek Abbott, Sharath Sriram, Madhu Bhaskaran, Christophe Fumeaux, and Withawat Withayachumnankul, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, online 20 December 2016, DOI: 10.1109/JSTQE.2016.2640452 

A recent publication on terahertz reflectarray antennas provides a broad, critical perspective on the topic, and contrasts different approaches. The reflectarray antenna is a well-established device that offers significant control and freedom over the directionality and characteristics of its radiation pattern. Such a capability is critical to the successful development of commercially-viable terahertz technologies. In the paper, the design, fabrication, and experimental characterization of four terahertz reflectarray devices, based on two classes of terahertz resonator, is presented: the metallic resonator class and the dielectric resonator class. The devices presented can be adapted to produce terahertz antennas with diverse characteristics, including high antenna gain, polarization sensitivity, and customizable radiation patterns. Based on these results, it is hoped that, with future advances in terahertz resonator technology, reflectarray antennas will prove instrumental in facilitating numerous promising applications of the terahertz range, including high-volume communications, noninvasive medical imaging, and security screening.

The scientific and technical impact of the study can be summarized as:

  • Metallic resonators generally offer more choice and control over polarization-sensitive functionality, while dielectric resonators offer far greater efficiency.
  • These reflectarray device designs can be manipulated to fabricate terahertz antennas with customizable radiation patterns and that exhibit high antenna gain and polarization sensitivity.
  • Advances in terahertz resonator technology, for example dynamic steerability, could enable the commercial viability of applications such as short-range terahertz communications.
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