Date of Award

Fall 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physics - (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

John Francis Federici

Second Advisor

Lothar Moeller

Third Advisor

Tao Zhou

Fourth Advisor

Andrei Sirenko

Fifth Advisor

Zhen Wu

Sixth Advisor

Haim Grebel


The goal of this thesis is to explore Terahertz (THz) wireless communication technology. More specifically the objective is to develop and characterize several THz communication systems and study the effect of atmosphere propagation through fog droplets and dust particles on THz communications.

For demonstration, a THz continuous wave (CW) photomixing system is designed. Terahertz signals are phase encoded with both analog ramp signals and pseudorandom binary data, transmitted over a short distance, and detected. The limitation of transmission bandwidth, low single to noise ratio, vibration effects are also analyzed. In order to study and compare propagation features of THz links with infrared (IR) links under different weather conditions, a THz and IR communications lab setup with a maximum data rate of 2.5 Gb/s at 625 GHz carrier frequency and 1.5 gm wavelength, have been developed respectively. A usual non return-to-zero (NRZ) format is applied to modulate the IR channel but a duobinary coding technique is used for driving the multiplier chain-based 625 GHz source, which enables signaling at high data rate and higher output power. The bit-error rate (BER), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and power on the receiver side have been measured, which describe the signal performance.

Since weather conditions such as fog and dust exhibit a spectral dependence in the atmospheric attenuation, the corresponding impact on THz in comparison with IR communications is not equivalent. Simulation results of attenuation by fog and dust in the millimeter and sub-millimeter waveband (from 0.1 to 1 THz) and infrared waveband (1.5 µm) are presented and compared. Experimentally, after THz and IR beams propagated through the same weather conditions (fog), performance of both channels are analyzed and compared. The attenuation levels for the IR beam are typically several orders of magnitude higher than those for the THz beam. Mie scattering theory was used to study the attenuation of THz and IR radiation due to the dust particle. Different amounts of dust are loaded in the chamber to generate a variety of concentration for beam propagation. As the dust loading becomes heavier, the measured attenuation becomes more severe. Under identical dust concentrations, IR wavelengths are strongly attenuated while THz shows almost no impact.

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