Scientists have developed an active intelligent terahertz electro-optical modulator

Recently, Sheng Zhigao, a researcher at the Center for Strong Magnetic Field of Hefei Academy of Physical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed an active and intelligent terahertz electro-optical modulator based on the steady-state strong magnetic field experimental device. The results were published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Although terahertz technology has superior spectral properties and a wide range of application prospects, its engineering applications are also severely constrained by the development of terahertz materials and terahertz components. Among them, around the application of intelligent scenes, the use of outfield to actively and intelligently control terahertz waves is an important research direction in this field.

Aiming at the cutting-edge research direction of terahertz core components, the research team invented the terahertz stress modulator based on the two-dimensional material graphene[Adv. Optical Mater. 6, 1700877 (2018)]Terahertz Broadband Light Control Modulator Based on Strongly Correlated Oxides[ACS Appl. Mater. Inter. 12, 48811 (2020)]and a new phonon-based single-frequency magnetron terahertz source[AdvancedScience92103229(2021)]the associated electron oxide vanadium dioxide film was selected as the functional layer, and the multi-layer structure design and electronic control method were used to realize the multi-functional active modulation of terahertz transmission, reflection and absorption (Figure A). The results show that in addition to the transmittance and absorption rate, the reflectance and reflected phase can also be actively regulated by the electric field, of which the reflectance modulation depth can reach 99.9%, and the reflected phase can be modulated up to ~180o (Figure b). More interestingly, in order to achieve intelligent terahertz electronic control, the researchers designed a device with a new “terahertz-electro-terahertz” feedback loop (Figure C). Regardless of the starting conditions and the outside environment, the smart device can automatically reach the set (expected) modulation value of terahertz in about 30 seconds.

(a) Schematic diagram of electro-optical modulator based on VO2 (b) Transmission, reflectivity, absorption rate and reflected phase changes with applied current (c) Intelligent control schematic diagram

The development of this active, intelligent terahertz electro-optical modulator based on associated electronic materials provides new ideas for the realization of intelligent control of terahertz. This work has been supported by the National Key Research and Development Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Anhui Provincial Laboratory direction fund for strong magnetic field. (Source: Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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