Terahertz heterodyne receiver components for future European space missions


  • European Commission, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), theme 9 (space)


The project aims to demonstrate a compact and integrated terahertz receiver, based on European components, suitable for a number of future earth observation and space science missions. Sub-millimetre wave or terahertz heterodyne receivers are key instruments for many space applications. For example, they are required for monitoring of the earth’s atmosphere or detection of molecules that might be tracers of life on other planets or moons.

TeraComp addresses strategic technology for space terahertz instrumentation and will develop European industrial capability to design and manufacture terahertz components and electronics based on high frequency Schottky diodes, Heterostructure Barrier Varactor (HBV) diodes and mHEMT MMICs. The prototype components will be integrated into a compact 557 GHz heterodyne receiver and evaluated for space instrument applications.

In the long-term, the outcome of TeraComp will play a role in gaining knowledge of the earth atmosphere, the climate system and understanding of the universe. Terahertz electronics will also find dual use applications in ground-based systems and open up for new markets. Goethe-University Frankfurt is involved in the development of a Schottky diode model and a submillimeter-wave subharmonic mixer within this project.