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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 22, Iss. 16 — Aug. 11, 2014
  • pp: 19235–19241
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Antenna-coupled field-effect transistors for multi-spectral terahertz imaging up to 4.25 THz

M. Bauer, R. Venckevičius, I. Kašalynas, S. Boppel, M. Mundt, L. Minkevičius, A. Lisauskas, G. Valušis, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue 16, pp. 19235-19241 (2014)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.22.019235


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Abstract

We demonstrate for the first time the applicability of antenna-coupled field-effect transistors for the detection of terahertz radiation (TeraFETs) for multi-spectral imaging from 0.76 to 4.25 THz. TeraFETs were fabricated in a commercial 90-nm CMOS process and noise-equivalent powers of 59, 20, 63, 85 and 110 pW / Hz at 0.216, 0.59, 2,52, 3.11 and 4.25 THz, respectively, have been achieved. A set of TeraFETs has been applied in raster-scan transmission and reflection imaging of pellets of sucrose and tartaric acid simulating common plastic explosives. Transmittance values are in good agreement with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy data. The spatial distribution of the components in the samples has been determined from the transmission data using principal component analysis.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

In many applications, spectral discrimination is required. If the spectral response of the materials in a sample under test is known a priori, identification is possible via principal component analysis (PCA) [11

11. Y. Watanabe, K. Kawase, T. Ikari, H. Ito, Y. Ishikawa, and H. Minamide, “Component spatial pattern analysis of chemicals using terahertz spectroscopic imaging,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 800 (2003). [CrossRef]

, 12

12. F. Platte and H. M. Heise, “Substance identification based on transmission THz spectra using library search,” J. Mol. Struct., in press. [CrossRef]

]. An example is the multi-spectral THz imaging and spatial component analysis of explosive simulants with bow-tie diodes [13

13. I. Kašalynas, R. Venckevičius, and G. Valušis, “Continuous wave spectroscopic terahertz imaging with InGaAs bow-tie diodes at room temperature,” IEEE Sens. J. 13(1), 50–54 (2013). [CrossRef]

,14

14. I. Kašalynas, R. Venckevičius, D. Seliuta, I. Grigelionis, and G. Valušis, “InGaAs-based bow-tie diode for spectroscopic terahertz imaging,” J. Appl. Phys. 110, 114505 (2011). [CrossRef]

]. However, the development of imaging systems with high frame-rates combined with spectroscopic analysis remains a challenging task. A multi-detector scheme is advisable, e.g., focal-plane arrays integrated on a chip, as they have become available in recent years [15

15. N. Oda, “Uncooled bolometer-type terahertz focal plane array and camera for real-time imaging,” C. R. Phys. 11(7–8), 496–509 (2010). [CrossRef]

19

19. A. Lisauskas, M. Bauer, S. Boppel, M. Mundt, B. Khamaisi, E. Socher, R. Venckevičius, L. Minkevičius, I. Kašalynas, D. Seliuta, G. Valušis, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos, “Exploration of terahertz imaging with silicon MOSFETs,” J. Infrared Millim. Te. 35(1), 63–80 (2014). [CrossRef]

], and multi-color approaches covering various spectral regimes can be pursued [20

20. M. Perenzoni, N. Massari, S. Pocas, J. Meilhan, and F. Simoens, “A monolithic visible, infrared and terahertz 2D detector,” in Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter and Terahertz Waves IRMMW-THz 2010,1–2 (2010).

].

Antenna-coupled field-effect transistors for THz detection (TeraFETs) offer an elegant solution for room-temperature multi-spectral THz imaging. After the first imaging demonstration with GaAs-based devices in 2008 [21

21. A. Lisauskas, W. Von Spiegel, S. Boubanga-Tombet, A. El Fatimy, D. Coquillat, F. Teppe, N. Dyakonova, W. Knap, and H. G. Roskos, “Terahertz imaging with GaAs field-effect transistors,” Electron. Lett. 44(6), 408–409 (2008). [CrossRef]

], TeraFETs gained large interest and showed rapid development, mainly because they can be realized with mainstream silicon CMOS technology [18

18. R. Al Hadi, H. Sherry, J. Grzyb, Y. Zhao, W. Forster, H. Keller, A. Cathelin, A. Kaiser, and U. Pfeiffer, “A 1 k-Pixel video camera for 0.7–1.1 terahertz imaging applications in 65-nm CMOS,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits 47(12), 2999–3012 (2012). [CrossRef]

, 19

19. A. Lisauskas, M. Bauer, S. Boppel, M. Mundt, B. Khamaisi, E. Socher, R. Venckevičius, L. Minkevičius, I. Kašalynas, D. Seliuta, G. Valušis, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos, “Exploration of terahertz imaging with silicon MOSFETs,” J. Infrared Millim. Te. 35(1), 63–80 (2014). [CrossRef]

, 22

22. F. Schuster, D. Coquillat, H. Videlier, M. Sakowicz, F. Teppe, L. Dussopt, B. Giffard, T. Skotnicki, and W. Knap, “Broadband terahertz imaging with highly sensitive silicon CMOS detectors,” Opt. Express 19(8), 7827–7832 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Silicon TeraFETs have shown their potential to reach high sensitivities with noise-equivalent powers (NEP) down to between ten and a few tens of pW/Hz [22

22. F. Schuster, D. Coquillat, H. Videlier, M. Sakowicz, F. Teppe, L. Dussopt, B. Giffard, T. Skotnicki, and W. Knap, “Broadband terahertz imaging with highly sensitive silicon CMOS detectors,” Opt. Express 19(8), 7827–7832 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,23

23. S. Boppel, A. Lisauskas, M. Mundt, D. Seliuta, L. Minkevičius, I. Kašalynas, G. Valušis, M. Mittendorff, S. Winnerl, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos, “CMOS Integrated antenna-coupled field-effect transistors for the detection of radiation from 0.2 to 4.3 THz,” IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech. 60(12), 3834–3843 (2012). [CrossRef]

]. Here, we explore for the first time antenna-coupled single-FET detectors as potential candidates for multi-spectral THz imaging of explosive simulants in both transmission and reflection geometry in the range of 0.76–4.25 THz. Extracted transmittance values from the THz images are in good agreement with Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy data. On this basis, the spatial content distribution of the explosive simulants is extracted from transmission data using PCA.

2. Optimized TeraFET detectors

Fig. 1 (a) NEPs of 90-nm TeraFETs of this work (red circles) and those of previous works (black stars). Improved NEPs are 59, 20, 63, 85 and 110pW/Hz at 0.216, 0.590, 2.52, 3.11 and 4.25 THz, respectively. Inset: Noise current of a 90-nm TeraFET (circles) and Johnson-Nyquist noise (green line). R is the measured gate-voltage-dependent drain-source DC resistance. (b) Transmittance of explosive simulants measured with an FTIR (solid lines) and the 90-nm TeraFETs (symbols).

In the following spectroscopic experiments, the three TeraFET detectors resonant between 2.5 and 4.3 THz were each used at their designed resonance frequency, while a 648 GHz pixel and a 1.63 THz pixel (not characterized) were operated off-resonance at laser frequencies of 0.7619 and 1.8397 THz, respectively. However, even for these frequencies, both TeraFETs were sufficiently sensitive for imaging application.

3. Transmission imaging of explosive simulants

Crystalline sucrose (SC) and tartaric acid (TA) are known to exhibit absorption features which are similar to those of PETN and RDX powder, respectively, constituting the energetic materials of commonly used plastic explosives [25

25. T. Trzcinski, N. Palka, and M. Szustakowski, “THz spectroscopy of explosive-related simulants and oxidizers,” Bull. Pol. Acad. Sci., Tech. Sci. 59(4), 445–447 (2011).

]. SC shows two strong absorption peaks at 1.83 and 2.85 THz, which, apart from a small shift, can be identified with absorption maxima of PETN at 2.00 and 2.84 THz, respectively. For RDX, absorption lines at 0.8, 1.6 and 2 THz are well reflected by three peaks of its simulant TA at 1.08, 1.83 and 2.61 THz, where again the spectrum is slightly shifted [25

25. T. Trzcinski, N. Palka, and M. Szustakowski, “THz spectroscopy of explosive-related simulants and oxidizers,” Bull. Pol. Acad. Sci., Tech. Sci. 59(4), 445–447 (2011).

27

27. A.K. Huhn, E. Saenz, P. de Maagt, and P.H. Bolivar, “Broadband terahertz analysis of energetic materials influence of crystal structure and additives,” IEEE Trans. Terahertz Sci. Technol. 3(5), 649–655 (2013). [CrossRef]

].

Samples were prepared mixing polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) powder with crystalline SC and/or TA, and pressing the mixtures into pellets of 1.3 mm thickness and 13 mm diameter (details in [14

14. I. Kašalynas, R. Venckevičius, D. Seliuta, I. Grigelionis, and G. Valušis, “InGaAs-based bow-tie diode for spectroscopic terahertz imaging,” J. Appl. Phys. 110, 114505 (2011). [CrossRef]

]). Three samples were fabricated with defined amounts (weight/weight) of explosive simulants, i.e., one pellet with 10% SC, one pellet with 10% TA and one pellet containing a mixture of 5% of each SC and TA. A fourth pure-PTFE pellet was fabricated to act as a reference sample. Figure 1(b) shows transmittance spectra of all samples recorded in an evacuated FTIR spectrometer over the range from 0.59 to 5.09 THz with a resolution of 60 GHz.

Transmission images were recorded with a raster-scan imaging system [14

14. I. Kašalynas, R. Venckevičius, D. Seliuta, I. Grigelionis, and G. Valušis, “InGaAs-based bow-tie diode for spectroscopic terahertz imaging,” J. Appl. Phys. 110, 114505 (2011). [CrossRef]

] at five discrete frequencies of a CO2-laser-pumped molecular gas laser operating in continous-wave mode, namely 0.7619, 1.8397, 2.5242, 3.1075, and 4.2475 THz. A chopper was used to modulate the laser beam at 520 Hz, which was split into a reference path for monitoring the laser output power and a detection path, where the beam was focused onto the samples by an off-axis paraboloidal mirror (OAP). The samples were scanned through the focus to obtain two-dimensional THz images. The focal spot diameter was measured to be 0.5 to 1.1 mm depending on wavelength and laser mode [19

19. A. Lisauskas, M. Bauer, S. Boppel, M. Mundt, B. Khamaisi, E. Socher, R. Venckevičius, L. Minkevičius, I. Kašalynas, D. Seliuta, G. Valušis, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos, “Exploration of terahertz imaging with silicon MOSFETs,” J. Infrared Millim. Te. 35(1), 63–80 (2014). [CrossRef]

]; the pixel size of the images was 0.1×0.3 mm2. Using a pair of OAPs, the transmitted beam was guided to a detector chip containing the TeraFETs described above. The rectified signal was read out by a lock-in amplifier with a time constant of 10 ms. In addition, we performed normal-incidence reflection imaging. In this case, a high-resistivity silicon wafer was used as a beam-splitter to extract the reflected THz beam from the beam path.

Figure 2(a) shows THz transmission images of the test samples. The samples were mounted on a metallic holder, which served as a noise level reference. Images at various THz frequencies were recorded via switching between discrete THz laser lines by tuning the laser cavity and/or exchanging the gas (HCOOH for 0.7619 and 1.8397 THz and CH3OH for 2.5242, 3.1075 and 4.2475 THz). After each frequency change, the position of the TeraFET chip was realigned to the corresponding detector and tuned for maximal signal. The images exhibit a dynamic range of >22 dB, only the measurement at 1.84 THz shows a slightly higher noise level and a reduced dynamic of ∼18 dB, which can be attributed to the off-resonant operation of the 1.63 THz TeraFET. A distinction of the pellets with pure SC and TA content is readily possible from the different contrasts at 0.76, 1.84, 3.11 and 4.25 THz. The SC pellet exhibits a higher transmittance at 0.76 and 3.11 THz, while that of the TA pellet is higher at 1.84 and 4.25 THz. At 2.52 THz, a clear distinction is more difficult, although the TA pellet is slightly more transparent than the SC pellet. It can also be observed in the 4.25-THz data, that the absorption by SC is that strong that both the pure-SC pellet as well as the mixed-component pellet show close-to-zero transmission; the pellet areas exhibit a transmission level similar to that of the metallic sample holder. The PTFE pellet shows only weak absorption at all the measured frequencies and has thus been used as the transmission reference for further evaluation.

Fig. 2 (a) Multi-spectral THz transmission images of explosive simulants. The images were acquired with various TeraFET detectors at the labeled THz laser lines. (b) Spatial distribution of SC (blue) and TA (red) determined by PCA.

By averaging over the pellet areas, transmittance values were extracted from the images at the five distinct frequencies. Due to visible diffraction effects at the pellet edges, the pellet’s rims were excluded from the averaging. The noise level of each measurement was determined at the area of the fully opaque metallic sample holder. The open symbols in Fig. 1(b) display the resultant mean transmittance values. They agree quantitatively with the values obtained in the FTIR spectroscopy measurements as shown in Table 1. Comparing with the full spectra, it becomes clear that the substantial contrast difference at 0.76, 1.84, 3.11 and 4.25 THz results from the significantly different absorption strength of the two chemical compounds at the respective frequencies. The contrast at 2.52 THz is weak because both compounds strongly absorb there. Taking into account the correspondence of the THz spectra of SC and TA with PETN and RDX, respectively, it can be concluded that the presented TeraFET-based multi-spectral transmission imaging system is well suited for realistic explosive detection scenarios.

Table 1. Transmittance of test samples at frequencies f recorded with TeraFETs and FTIR.

table-icon
View This Table

Multi-spectral imaging principally allows for the determination of the lateral distribution of the chemical compounds across pellets provided the focal spot size is larger than the ”grain” size of the compounds. In the data of Fig. 2(a), a spatial variation of the signals is visible which is high above the noise level of the measurements. The variation is caused by locally differing concentrations of the compounds in the PTFE matrix which leads to variations in absorption and to scattering. Assuming that the first effect is dominant because density variations are rather small, the lateral distribution of SC and TA within each pellet is found using PCA [11

11. Y. Watanabe, K. Kawase, T. Ikari, H. Ito, Y. Ishikawa, and H. Minamide, “Component spatial pattern analysis of chemicals using terahertz spectroscopic imaging,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 800 (2003). [CrossRef]

, 13

13. I. Kašalynas, R. Venckevičius, and G. Valušis, “Continuous wave spectroscopic terahertz imaging with InGaAs bow-tie diodes at room temperature,” IEEE Sens. J. 13(1), 50–54 (2013). [CrossRef]

]. Figure 2(b) shows the spatial distribution of SC and TA for all four samples, where shades of blue and red represent the amount of SC and TA, respectively. Mixed colors within the SC-TA-mixed pellet are obtained by additive RGB color mixing. For the pure samples, the spatial variations found in the analysis indicate that the mixing procedure did not result in a homogeneous material distribution. The fact that the pure-PTFE pellet exhibits a color signal at its edge, is another indication of diffraction and scattering effects at the pellet’s rims.

4. Reflection imaging

Reflection measurements are of great value when aiming for stand-off detection of hidden objects in combination with spectroscopic identification of materials, which is desired in most realistic security application scenarios. However, reflection data are notoriously difficult to interpret [27

27. A.K. Huhn, E. Saenz, P. de Maagt, and P.H. Bolivar, “Broadband terahertz analysis of energetic materials influence of crystal structure and additives,” IEEE Trans. Terahertz Sci. Technol. 3(5), 649–655 (2013). [CrossRef]

]. The reflectance spectra of the explosive simulants and the reference PTFE pellet were measured with the FTIR spectrometer (data not shown). It was found that a 10% amount of SC or TA component in PTFE matrix is not an optimal amount for a deeper analysis of spectroscopic THz images in reflection mode. For comparison, experimental data from Ref. [28

28. K. Choi, T. Hong, K. Ik Sim, T. Ha, B. Cheol Park, J. Hyuk Chung, S. Gyeong Cho, and J. Hoon Kim, “Reflection terahertz time-domain spectroscopy of RDX and HMX explosives,” J. Appl. Phys. 115(2), 023105 (2014). [CrossRef]

] were taken for 2.52 THz frequency for which the TeraFET detectors were designed. It is found that the largest reflectivity modulation for RDX and HMX in case of 100% of material purity amounts to only 1% and 3%, respectively. In our case, the content is approximately 10 times smaller. Hence, the reflection signal modulation due to presence of the explosive simulants is difficult to measure by both FTIR spectroscopy and multispectral THz imaging with TeraFETs. In addition, in realistic application scenarios, misalignment between samples as well as bowing and scratching of the surfaces will further deteriorate the reflection signals. Not least for this reason, a full analysis of reflection images is beyond the scope of this paper but is, e.g., discussed in Ref. [29

29. P. Dean, M. U. Shaukat, S. P. Khanna, S. Chakraborty, M. Lachab, A. Burnett, G. Davies, and E. H. Linfield, “Absorption-sensitive diffuse reflection imaging of concealed powders using a terahertz quantum cascade laser,” Opt. Express 16(9), 5997–6007 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] exploring the diffusive scattering of powdered samples by using THz reflection imaging with a quantum cascade laser operating at 2.8 THz. There, reflection images of samples of mixtures of polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate powder are discussed on the basis of a number of back-scattering theories.

It has to be noted again, however, that our work is different in the sense that we use samples with relatively low amounts of additives below 10% (weight/weight) and an analysis with a similar approach is not easily possible. Here, we only want to address the following points. First, the dynamic range achieved in multi-spectral reflection-mode imaging with the TeraFETs is sufficient for subsequent analysis, as proven by the data displayed in Fig. 3, which shows images of the four pellets at 0.76 and 2.52 THz. A metallic mirror was placed close to the objects and served as a perfect-reflector reference. The dynamic range was found to be more than 15 dB. Second, the image of the pure PTFE pellet at 2.52 THz exhibits interference patterns. In reflection, these are more pronounced than in transmission because of the relatively small reflectance values. Clearly, such artifacts need proper attention and data processing prior to further analysis. However, with regard to the TeraFETs, they show their potential for spectroscopic THz imaging in stand-off detection geometries.

Fig. 3 THz reflection images of the explosive simulants at labeled THz laser lines.

5. Conclusion

To summarize, TeraFETs fabricated in a commercial 90-nm CMOS process technology, are found to be well-suited for room-temperature multi-spectral THz imaging in the frequency range of 0.76–4.25 THz. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of multi-spectral imaging up to 4.25 THz with antenna-coupled FETs designed for multiple frequencies. THz images of PTFE pellets with explosive simulants exhibit a dynamic range of more than 22 dB in transmission geometry and of more than 15 dB in reflection mode using a molecular gas laser as radiation source. The multi-spectral THz transmission images allow to discriminate the content and to evaluate the spatial distribution of the materials under test. All results are found to be in a good agreement with data obtained by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and the suitability of the TeraFETs for further studies on multi-spectral THz reflection imaging was shown. The presented work opens a route for the development of multi-frequency TeraFET arrays to reduce the measurement time for multi-spectral THz imaging and to enable real-time component analysis in the THz region up to 4.25 THz.

Acknowledgments

The scientific cooperation between Goethe-University Frankfurt and the Vilnius Center for Physical Science and Technology is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Frankfurt team acknowledges support by the Hessian excellence initiative LOEWE ”Sensors towards Terahertz”. The activities at Vilnius were supported by the Research Council of Lithuania under the grant ”HeTeFo” MIP-093/2012. M.B. acknowledges support by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, grant no. 1173-196.10/2011. A.L. is thankful for funding by the European Social Fund under the Global Grant measure. V.K. likes to acknowledge partial financial support by Oerlikon AG.

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A.K. Huhn, E. Saenz, P. de Maagt, and P.H. Bolivar, “Broadband terahertz analysis of energetic materials influence of crystal structure and additives,” IEEE Trans. Terahertz Sci. Technol. 3(5), 649–655 (2013). [CrossRef]

28.

K. Choi, T. Hong, K. Ik Sim, T. Ha, B. Cheol Park, J. Hyuk Chung, S. Gyeong Cho, and J. Hoon Kim, “Reflection terahertz time-domain spectroscopy of RDX and HMX explosives,” J. Appl. Phys. 115(2), 023105 (2014). [CrossRef]

29.

P. Dean, M. U. Shaukat, S. P. Khanna, S. Chakraborty, M. Lachab, A. Burnett, G. Davies, and E. H. Linfield, “Absorption-sensitive diffuse reflection imaging of concealed powders using a terahertz quantum cascade laser,” Opt. Express 16(9), 5997–6007 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(110.4234) Imaging systems : Multispectral and hyperspectral imaging
(110.6795) Imaging systems : Terahertz imaging

ToC Category:
Terahertz Optics

History
Original Manuscript: May 8, 2014
Revised Manuscript: July 10, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: July 11, 2014
Published: July 31, 2014

Citation
M. Bauer, R. Venckevičius, I. Kašalynas, S. Boppel, M. Mundt, L. Minkevičius, A. Lisauskas, G. Valušis, V. Krozer, and H. G. Roskos, "Antenna-coupled field-effect transistors for multi-spectral terahertz imaging up to 4.25 THz," Opt. Express 22, 19235-19241 (2014)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-22-16-19235


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