Terahertz multiplexers for next generation 6G and beyond

May 03, 2021 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Terahertz multiplexers for next generation 6G and beyond
A new design of an ultra-small silicon multiplexer chip will effectively manage terahertz waves, which are key to the next generation of communications of 6G and beyond.

Researchers from Osaka University, Japan and the University of Adelaide, Australia have worked together to produce the new multiplexer made from pure silicon for terahertz-range terahertz communications in the 300-GHz band.

"In order to control the great spectral bandwidth of terahertz waves, a multiplexer, which is used to split and join signals, is critical for dividing the information into manageable chunks that can be more easily processed and so can be transmitted faster from one device to another," said Associate Professor Withawat Withayachumnankul from the University of Adelaide's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

"Up until now compact and practical multiplexers have not been developed for the terahertz range. The new terahertz multiplexers, which are economical to manufacture, will be extremely useful for ultra-broadband wireless communications.”

"The shape of the chips we have developed is the key to combining and splitting channels so that more data can be processed more rapidly. Simplicity is its beauty."

The terahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum has a raw spectral bandwidth that is far broader than that of conventional wireless communications, which is based upon microwaves. To enable terahertz communications, the team has developed ultra-compact and efficient terahertz multiplexers, thanks to a novel optical tunnelling process.

Schematic of the integrated multiplexer, showing broadband terahertz wave being split into four different frequencies, where each is capable of carrying digital information. Image courtesy of Osaka University.

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