About the project
CENTERA is a new R&D unit financed by the Foundation for Polish Science under the International Research Agendas Programme (IRAP)- with the ambition to become the Centre of Excellence in Terahertz Science and Technology. It was founded by the world-class Polish researchers from IHPP PAS – prof. Wojciech Knap and prof. Thomas Skotnicki, who have been conducting pioneering studies of THz radiation for more than a decade.
THz radiation (also called T-waves, THz, or sub-millimeter radiation) is electromagnetic radiation within the frequency bands around 1012 Hz. The name refers to the frequencies between infrared light and microwaves. Even if THz radiation was discovered a long time ago, it still has remained unused on a mass scale. This is the reason, why it is also known as “the forgotten band” or “the Terahertz gap”. It provides a huge potential for applications and basic research on the properties of matter. THz radiation research has already been conducted in Poland for more than 20 years. This has paved the way for developing innovative instruments and technologies using THz frequencies (e.g. postal scanners). The fundamental properties and applications of THz radiation are the objective of the study by CENTERA researchers.
CENTERA LABORATORIES (later called CENTERA), founded in September 2018, is a Research and Development (R&D) unit in Warsaw – Poland co-financed by national funds and the European Regional Development Fund. CENTERA is implemented under the program “International Research Agendas” (IRAP) of the Foundation for Polish Science. IRAP grants are the most prestigious projects on the landscape of Polish research and beneficiaries of special privileges. CENTERA is associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences (Institute of High Pressure Physics PAS) but has large autonomy and its own budget of about 40 million PLN for five years (around 10 million Euros), covering the EU-level salaries of the researchers and high-level instrumentation. The main objective of IRAP grants is to create modern and sustainable R&D units, which, after five years of funding, will be self-sufficient thanks to research projects and cooperation with Industry. Currently, CENTERA cooperates with experts from many countries and employs approximately 30 scientists from Poland, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, and France. CENTERA Labs are located in the state-of-the-art technology center Cezamat which is owned by the Warsaw University of Technology. Based on the bilateral contracts with Polish and foreign R&D institutions, CENTERA has access to a world-class R&D ecosystem, that enables, among others: to make nanometric structures with dimensions as small as 10 nm on a lateral scale and a single atomic layer on a vertical scale. CENTERA’s scientific activity has resulted, among others, in many high-impact factor publications including two papers on breakthrough discoveries in the top world magazines “Nature Photonics” and “Physical Review X”, conference papers, submitted patent applications, and two awards of Ph.D. Aleksandra Krajewska, 2nd place in the Smart City Hackathon, ERC grant, and other projects, prestigious European SEMI award for prof. Skotnicki. The best-in-class laboratory equipment enables CENTERA to conduct high-quality research in the domain of Terahertz Science and Technology.
Mission and implementation
The originality and Competitivity of CENTERA approach are based on three pillars:
- Interdisciplinary character based on a synergy of top-level researchers in the field of physics, biomedicine, chemistry, materials science, and electronics to create a strongly and efficiently interacting environment integrated around the exploration of THz science and technology.
- Strong interaction between basic and applied science based on the fact that CENTERA will:
a) search for new phenomena within the fields of physics, electronics, and biomedicine at THz range,
b) at the same time explore science and engineering aspects behind these novel phenomena, materials, and technologies to develop new techniques, devices, and demonstrators enabling the widespread exploitation of THz radiation for different applications e.g.: security, safety, health, and non-destructive quality control. This approach will help CENTERA to obtain the best R&D results.
- A strong synergy of all activities: WGs will benefit from their direct cooperation within CENTERA and be able to create new solutions that will overcome the obstacles in the THz field. This will create a strong unit capable to generate scientific and engineering results beyond the scientific contributions and achievements of each group.
CENTERA aims to
CENTERA sets out to develop breakthrough technologies in the field of THz generation, processing, emitting, and reception. Exploration of the THz field will have a substantial economic and societal impact. The novel THz sources and other technological advancements achieved by CENTERA will enable the utilization of THz waves in various areas of the economy. These applications were previously out of reach due to the extremely high cost, unacceptable size, or other shortcomings of former technological solutions for emitters and detectors of THz waves. CENTERA research will boost their development.
- Research on physical phenomena leading to generation, amplification, or detection of THz radiation.
- Engineering and research on the innovative THz radiation sources and detectors.
- Characterization of the THz properties of different solids and liquids and gases in the THz range.
- Design and development of antennas for THz frequencies.
- Optics for beamforming in the THz and sub-millimeter ranges.
- Designing, implementing, and characterization of high-frequency components and systems.
- Imaging systems in infrared and THz ranges for quality control and security.
CENTERA LABORATORIES are composed of 5 laboratories (Lab’s) and corresponding 5 Work Groups (WG’s)
Lab 1 and WG1 Leader prof. Wojciech Knap
Lab 1 is focusing on Terahertz plasma instabilities in 2D and 3D nanostructures, concentrating its interest mainly on solid-state systems with Dirac fermions and topological insulators. The originality and novelty of the proposed research come from a synergic exploration of recently developed fields of research: Terahertz-related science, the science of nanostructures, topological insulators, and graphene-like materials science (a Dirac Matter). Terahertz plasma instabilities are important for the efficient detection and emission of Terahertz radiation and will contribute to a better understanding of the nature of novel materials such as Dirac Matter with its natural frequencies occurring at Terahertz frequencies.
Lab 3 and WG3 Leader prof. Alvydas Lisauskas
The research area of Lab 3 covers active terahertz devices (emitters, detectors, amplifiers) implemented in the form of an integrated circuit. THz technology, still in its initial growth stage, needs continuous support of innovative, brand-new solutions – in both THz generation and detection domains. Thanks to the new, efficient, cost-effective emitters and detectors, in the nearest future THz technology, would become more commonly available and present in so-called consumer electronics.
In studies performed by WG3 two fully-parallel approaches are used: scientific and applicative. On one hand, works related to the THz structures modeling and building descriptions of the novel physical phenomena are being studied, on the other hand – thanks to the innovative antenna and readout/control devices – care is taken to ensure that developed solutions are ready to use in the real devices or systems. WG3 group is focused on structures fabricated in Si, GaAs, InP, GaN, and AlN-based technologies – in the frame of this subject, many collaborations with Polish and worldwide research institutes are being carried out.
Lab 4 and WG4 Leader prof. Dmytry Lyubchenko
The scope of Lab 4 is to explore novel approaches in diffractive optics and novel types of patterned materials with powerful established functional units directed towards the coupling of THz radiation to devices and components. The main challenges that this WG is about to face are the determination of material parameters, design of passive structures including antennas, lenses, and filters, as well as optimization of their coupling with active THz devices. WG4 will also contribute to research on efficient interconnections, integration, and packaging of THz-IC with antennas and optics to obtain single-chip system-on-package (SiP) high coupling efficiency, small size, low power consumption, and ultimately low-cost transmitters and receivers. Besides the design, computing, and modeling of on-chip antennas and diffractive optics, WG4 carries out a full characterization of fabricated and packaged sub-systems using advanced sub-THz probe stations and anechoic chambers. Special attention will be paid to a noise characterization of the systems. Low and high-frequency noise, as well as the phase noise of systems, will be carefully investigated.
Lab 5 and WG5 Leader Prof. Thomas Skotnicki
The initial and crucial challenge for WG5 is to evaluate different THz applications. Many of them have been postulated or even demonstrated, but they still haven’t developed up to a mass market. WG5 has to identify and analyze the main obstacles and provide strategies, which will enable overcoming or removing these obstacles (i.e. high costs and/or low compactness). WG5 will decide, which systems may benefit from the scientific and technological development of CENTERA, and which ones may have sufficient market potential. WG5 will define specifications for such systems and will construct demonstrators of the highest possible Technology Readiness Level (TRL). Additionally, WG5 will prepare commercial brochures and datasheets of commercialized devices. Moreover, the team will participate in the development of innovative topologies and cutting-edge fabrication technologies of daily-life THz devices. An important activity of WG5 will also be the protection of the intellectual property of CENTERA: the experts from WP5 will be responsible for the patenting of inventions, devices, and systems from all other WGs. WG5’s objective is to create a reliable, reputed, and recognizable brand of CENTERA directly associated with THz activity, having a strong and well-developed network of business and scientific contacts.
Lab6 and WG6. Leader Prof. Marek Potemski
Marek Potemski graduated from the University of Warsaw (1980); received his Ph.D. from the Polish Academy of Sciences (1986); carried out his research initially in Warsaw (1980-1991) at the Institute of Physics before joining the permanent staff of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, as a researcher, and successively as a leader of the “Semiconductor and Nano-Physics” group, at the French National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Grenoble.
Electronic properties of two-dimensional systems and semiconductor nanostructures, in conjunction with the application of magnetic fields, are the most representative domain of his research activity (400+ publications, 11000+ citations, supervision of 18 Ph.D. and 24 postdoctoral projects, extended research visits at the NRC-Canada/IMS-Ottawa, Autonomous University of Madrid, and University of Warsaw/Faculty of Physics).
Potemski is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Academy of Europe; has coordinated a number of research projects, including those granted to him by NRC-Canada (Herzberg Prize and Fellowship) by the ERC (Advanced Research Grant), by EC (within the Graphene Flagship) and by FNP-Poland (within the TEAM Programme). He has joined the CENTERA team with a research program focused on studies of 2D materials.
Theoretical Support. Prof. Jacek Majewski
The aim of prof. Majewski is to provide theoretical support for the research carried out in the CENTERA project, by providing: (i) a deeper understanding of materials considered as THz radiation sources, and (ii) quantitative theoretical predictions that should facilitate the design of novel devices. The theoretical and computational methodology involved in the realization of these goals will include ab initio calculations within density functional theory (DFT), semi-empirical tight-binding methods and other effective hamiltonians, and continuous methods, for a description of electric, magnetic, optical, and transport properties of considered in the CENTERA project materials.
In particular, he is going to perform a series of calculations for the family of MPX3 compounds (where M indicates a transition metal, and X – chalcogenide atom, S, Se, or Te). These studies will include the effects of the magnon-phonon interaction, the determination of the constants describing Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions, and the modification of magnetism by light. He is planning to perform ab initio calculations of the electron scattering rates in the particular systems studied in WP1, and then implement them in transport calculations.
CENTERA Labs equipment includes:
Time Domain Spectroscopic System (TDS)
VDI Signal Generator up to 440 GHz
Frequency Domain Spectroscopic system (FDS)
Magnetic and non-magnetic optical tables with bases
Vector Network Analyzer N5222B
Semiconductor Structure Analyzer: a dry 9 T superconducting magnet “Warm hole” and a dry cryostat for cooling the optical pressure chamber
THz-based application within CENTERA interest.
We are looking for partners for common projects and ventures in the following areas:
CONTROL OF THE COMPOSITION and pollution of liquid fuels.
CONTROL OF THE HYDROGEN PURITY FOR FUEL CELL of POWER GENERATORS.
INFRASTRUCTURE and WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY: intelligent infrastructure with broadband THz data connections.
SAFETY AND PROTECTION SYSTEMS: the THz scanners for mail in the offices, embassies, and ministries; innovative inspection systems for mailrooms, police stations, and customs institutions.
QUALITY CONTROL: fast THz scanners checking in real-time and on-line: product quality (e.g. cracks, stress), uniformity of filling liquids (beverages, oils, greases) in opaque containers and uniformity of plastic or wooden products thickness.
PHARMACY: tablets moisture control, control of a composition of a medicine/layered tablets, the content of packaging with tablets or liquids, the accuracy of tablets filling in the vials, the airtightness of vacuum-packed medicines.
MEDICINE AND BIO-ENGINEERING: terahertz imaging – the development of medical microscope for oncological surgery; testing of gases exhaled by humans for noninvasive health checks; blood analysis – medical testing of liquids; hydration analysis in the case of extensive skin burns, e.g. evaluation of the burn degree and/or plastic surgery needs.
CENTERA LABORATORIES are associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences – through the Institute of High Pressure Physics PAS (IHPP PAS).
CENTERA strategic partners are two renowned European research centers: Goethe University in Frankfurt (GUF, Germany) and the Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics, and Nanotechnology in Lille (IEMN, France).
CENTERA cooperates closely with the Warsaw University of Technology and the University of Warsaw.
Another important closely collaborating partners are: Charles Coulomb Laboratory – CNRS and University of Montpellier (France), research units from Japan: RIKEN THz Center, Tohoku University in Sendai, as well as the Terahertz Center in Regensburg – Germany.