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SPIE Professional July 2013

Optical profilometer metamaterials

Technology R&D Highlights

image for SPIE Professional R&D Highlights

A team at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School has integrated a metamaterial structure into a nanomechanical thermal transducer to increase electromagnetic wave absorption in the terahertz (THz) range. Advanced optical profilometry has enabled mapping of deformations in such structures with subnanometer accuracy.

Work carried out on the fabricated MEMS sensor at the user facility at the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at Oak Ridge National Lab (USA) resulted in several research papers from the research team. The Oak Ridge facility is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

One paper, “High sensitivity metamaterial based bi-material terahertz sensor,” was presented at OPTO, part of SPIE Photonics West, in February.

Authors Fabio Alves, Dragoslav Grbovic, Brian Kearney, and Gamani Karunasiri reported that the sensor provided nearly 95% absorption at 3.8 THz. “The absorbing element of the sensor was designed with a resonant frequency that matches the quantum cascade laser illumination source while simultaneously providing structural support, desired thermomechanical properties, and optical read-out access,” they reported.


Optical profile of the fabricated sensor.

“Although the sensors were not optimized for imaging, they can be further optimized for use in focal plane arrays for real time THz imaging,” they said.

More about the sensor in the SPIE Digital Library.

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.

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DOI: 10.1117/2.4201307.08

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