A golden coil smaller in diameter than a human hair and a diamond pin embossed with gold may represent the future of high frequency electronics.

Carol L. Kory, who specializes in complex electromagnetic computer simulations, will present two papers describing the design and predicted performance of new backward wave oscillators at the Ninth International Vacuum Electronics Conference (IVEC) in Monterey, California.

James A. Dayton, Jr., chief technology officer of Teraphysics and inventor of the devices, will follow with two presentations describing the innovative fabrication technology that has been developed to create these two oscillators. Both structures are the essential components of novel 0.65-terahertz electronic oscillators under development at Teraphysics, located in Highland Heights, Ohio.

Left - typical backward wave oscillator. Right - new micro BWO. Credit: Teraphysics.

Both oscillators operate on the same physical principal, the interaction between an electromagnetic wave and an electron beam propagating in a vacuum. Also, both devices feature an antenna fabricated as an integral part of the device that radiates the terahertz power. Both devices utilize an innovative electron gun design that is fabricated as an integral part of the device, and both are designed for mass production.

However, they are fundamentally different in the construction of the component that slows the electromagnetic wave, which must travel at the speed of light, to the speed of the relatively slow electron beam. One device uses a tiny coil of golden wire to slow the wave, while the other uses a complex comb-like structure fabricated from diamond.

The immediate interests of the government funding organizations are for applications in homeland security and space research. However, the terahertz band is the only un-utilized segment of the electromagnetic spectrum. Numerous additional applications in medicine, pharmacology and communications have been proposed, but have not been pursued because of the lack of a practical source of radiation in that frequency band. These developments at Teraphysics seeks to fill that gap.

There are several collaborators from across the country who are co-authors in one or more of the papers, including Gerald T. Mearini, founder and president of Teraphysics, who holds a doctorate in experimental physics. The other contributing co-authors and collaborating organizations are Dean Malta, Matt Lueck and Christopher Bower of RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Joseph Tabeling of Applied Diamond, Wilmington, Delaware; Scott Worthington of Hana Microdisplays, Twinsburg, Ohio; and Christopher Holland and Charles Spindt of SRI International, Menlo Park, California.