Power-splitting terahertz waves may spur quantum leap in wifi

Daniel Mittleman has developed a way to send multiple signals through one medium and successfully separate them at their destination.
Daniel Mittleman has developed a way to send multiple signals through one medium and successfully separate them at their destination. | File photo

Applying a wifi approach to basic power splitter equipment, Brown University researchers have created a tool for terahertz radiation involving frequencies that could potentially increase today’s cellular capabilities 100 times over.

Cellular and wifi networks depend on microwaves that are limited by frequency. Terahertz waves, ranging from 100 to 10,000 GHz on the electromagnetic spectrum, may be able to convey much larger amounts of data, but have not been widely investigated to date — so components don’t yet exist.

Brown School of Engineering professor Daniel Mittleman has developed a way to send multiple signals through one medium and successfully separate them at their destination. His laboratory has also created a new kind of lens for focusing terahertz waves.

“One of the big thrusts in terahertz technology is wireless communications,” Kimberly Reichel, a post-doctoral researcher in the school of engineering who led the project, said. “We believe this is the first demonstration of a variable broadbrand power splitter for terahertz, which would be a fundamental device for use in a terahertz network.”

Mittleman and Reichel co-authored a paper along with research professor Rajind Mendis documenting the project, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation and the W. M. Keck Foundation.

“The goal of this work was to demonstrate that you can do variable power switching with a parallel-plate waveguide architecture,” Mittleman said. “We wanted to demonstrate the basic physics and then refine the design.”

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