Project C13 - 3D Printed Dielectric Structures for THz Applications
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Niels Benson
The main objective of this project is to enable true monolithic 3D THz components for highly accurate localization purposes, which operate in the mm- and sub-mm wavelength range. Here, the term monolithic is the key, as any technology requiring the split block approach, will be limiting the device functionality in the sub-mm range, when mechanical assembly tolerances begin to dominate the total error in dimension. Consequently, classical 2.5D manufacturing technologies, such as lithography or laser machining, which yield excellent structural resolution in 2D, will be limited in their applicability. Therefore, this project will concentrate on additive manufacturing, with its true digital 3D design freedom to work towards a 2.5 THz device functionality goal. While the additive manufacturing development has progressed significantly in recent years, the use of metal or polymer printing techniques is limited in the sub-mm wavelength range, as either material properties or surface finish lead to significant signal losses, requiring extensive post processing and ironically the split block approach. Therefore, this project will introduce a novel emerging additive technology into the field of THz research, which is “Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing” (LCM) for the processing of low loss ceramic solids. With promising technology specifications, it is the task of this project to develop the LCM technology for sub-mm wave applicability, and to enable unseen device possibilities in this frequency range. Examples for this are resonator arrays for RFID-tags, Luneberg lens structures or more complicated components, such as phased arrays and phase shifters with monolithically integrated signal feeds.