OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Glenn D. Boreman
  • Vol. 44, Iss. 28 — Oct. 1, 2005
  • pp: 5937–5946

Low-loss terahertz ribbon waveguides

Cavour Yeh, Fred Shimabukuro, and Peter H. Siegel  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 28, pp. 5937-5946 (2005)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1516 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The submillimeter wave or terahertz (THz) band (1 mm–100 μm) is one of the last unexplored frontiers in the electromagnetic spectrum. A major stumbling block hampering instrument deployment in this frequency regime is the lack of a low-loss guiding structure equivalent to the optical fiber that is so prevalent at the visible wavelengths. The presence of strong inherent vibrational absorption bands in solids and the high skin-depth losses of conductors make the traditional microstripline circuits, conventional dielectric lines, or metallic waveguides, which are common at microwave frequencies, much too lossy to be used in the THz bands. Even the modern surface plasmon polariton waveguides are much too lossy for long-distance transmission in the THz bands. We describe a concept for overcoming this drawback and describe a new family of ultra-low-loss ribbon-based guide structures and matching components for propagating single-mode THz signals. For straight runs this ribbon-based waveguide can provide an attenuation constant that is more than 100 times less than that of a conventional dielectric or metallic waveguide. Problems dealing with efficient coupling of power into and out of the ribbon guide, achieving low-loss bends and branches, and forming THz circuit elements are discussed in detail. One notes that active circuit elements can be integrated directly onto the ribbon structure (when it is made with semiconductor material) and that the absence of metallic structures in the ribbon guide provides the possibility of high-power carrying capability. It thus appears that this ribbon-based dielectric waveguide and associated components can be used as fundamental building blocks for a new generation of ultra-high-speed electronic integrated circuits or THz interconnects.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(130.2790) Integrated optics : Guided waves
(230.7370) Optical devices : Waveguides
(230.7390) Optical devices : Waveguides, planar
(230.7400) Optical devices : Waveguides, slab

ToC Category:
Optical Devices

Original Manuscript: March 3, 2005
Revised Manuscript: April 22, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: May 6, 2005
Published: October 1, 2005

Cavour Yeh, Fred Shimabukuro, and Peter H. Siegel, "Low-loss terahertz ribbon waveguides," Appl. Opt. 44, 5937-5946 (2005)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. J. Mullins, “Using unusable frequencies,” IEEE Spectrum 39, 22–23 (2002). [CrossRef]
  2. D. van der Weide, “Applications and outlook for electronic terahertz technology,” Opt. Photon. News 14, 48–53 (2003). [CrossRef]
  3. P. H. Siegel, “Terahertz technology,” IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech. MTT-50, 910–928 (2002). [CrossRef]
  4. M. N. Afsar, K. J. Button, “Millimeter-wave dielectric measurements of materials,” Proc. IEEE 73, 131–153 (1985). [CrossRef]
  5. R. Birch, J. D. Dromey, J. Lisurf, “The optical constants of some common low-loss polymers between 4 and 40 cm−1,” Infrared Phys. 21, 225–228 (1981). [CrossRef]
  6. M. N. Afsar, “Precision dielectric measurements of nonpolar polymers in the millimeter wavelength range,” IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech. MTT-33, 1410–1415 (1985). [CrossRef]
  7. J. W. Lamb, “Miscellaneous data on materials for millimetre and submillimetre optics,” Int. J. Infrared Millim. Waves 17, 1997–2034 (1996). [CrossRef]
  8. K. C. Kao, G. A. Hockman, “Dielectric fiber surface waveguides for optical frequencies,” IEE Proc. Optoelectron. 133, 1151–1158 (1966).
  9. G. P. Agrawal, Fiber Optic Communication Systems, Wiley Series in Microwave and Optical Engineering (Wiley, New York, 1997).
  10. D. Marcuse, Light Transmission Optics (Van Nostrand-Reinhold, New York, 1972).
  11. S. Ramo, J. R. Whinnery, T. Van Duzer, Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics, 2nd ed. (Wiley, New York, 1984).
  12. S. K. Koul, Millimeter Wave and Optical Dielectric Integrated Guides and Circuits, (Wiley Series in Microwave and Optical Engineering, (Wiley, New York, 1997).
  13. T. C. Edwards, Foundations for Microstrip Circuit Design (Wiley, New York, 1981).
  14. G. Gallot, S. P. Jamison, R. W. McGowan, D. Grischkowsky, “Terahertz waveguides,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 17, 851–863 (2000). [CrossRef]
  15. J.-F. Roux, F. Aquistapace, F. Garet, L. Duvillaret, J.-L. Coutaz, “Grating-assisted coupling of terahertz waves into a dielectric waveguide studied by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy,” Appl. Opt. 41, 6507–6513 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. G. L. Carr, M. C. Martin, W. C. McKinney, K. Jordan, G. R. Neill, G. P. Williams, “High-power terahertz radiation from relativistic electrons,” Nature 420, 153–156 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. R. Mendis, D. Grischkowsky, “Plastic ribbon THz waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 88, 4449–4451 (2000). [CrossRef]
  18. K. Wang, D. M. Mittleman, “Metal wires for terahertz waveguiding,” Nature 432, 376–379 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. C. Yeh, F. Shimabukuro, P. Stanton, V. Jamnejad, W. Imbriale, A. F. Manshadi, “Communication at millimetre-submillimetre wavelengths using ceramic ribbon,” Nature 404, 584–588 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. C. Yeh, “Dynamic Fields,” in American Institute of Physics Handbook, 3rd ed., D. E. Gray, ed. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1972).
  21. C. Yeh, “Elliptical dielectric waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 33, 3235–3243 (1962). [CrossRef]
  22. C. Yeh, “Attenuation in a dielectric elliptical cylinder,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag. AP-11, 177–184 (1963).
  23. C. Yeh, K. Ha, S. B. Dong, W. P. Brown, “Single-mode optical waveguides,” Appl. Opt. 18, 1490–1504 (1979). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. A. Taflove, S. C. Hagness, Computational Electrodynamics: The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method, 2nd ed. (Artech House, Norwood, Mass., 2000).
  25. C. Yeh, L. Casperson, B. Szejn, “Propagation of truncated Gaussian beams in multimode fiber guides,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 68, 989–993 (1978). [CrossRef]
  26. K. S. Yee, “Numerical solution of initial boundary value problems involving Maxwell’s equation in isotropic media,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag. AP-14, 302–307 (1966).
  27. QuickWave-3D FDTD Software, QWED Sp.z o.o., ul. Zwyciezcow 3 4/2, 03-938 Warszawa, Poland.
  28. W. Schlosser, H. G. Unger, “Partially filled waveguides and surface waveguides in rectangular cross section,” in Advances in Microwaves, L. Young, ed. (Academic, New York, 1966).
  29. P. H. Siegel, S. E. Fraser, W. Grundfest, C. Yeh, F. Shimabukuro, “Flexible Ribbon Guide for In-Vivo and Hand-Held THz Imaging,” proposal to , Technology Development for Biomedical Applications R21, September2003.
  30. J. K. Carson, S. P. Mead, S. A. Schelkunoff, “Cylindrical dielectric waveguide,” Bell Syst. Tech. J. 15, 310 (1936). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited