TeraNova, the first interdepartmental Applied Physics/Electrical Engineering start-up founded
In 2015, the FLUX building, hosting the departments of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering of TU/e, was officially opened. Bringing two departments under the same roof should increase the collaborations, improve the impact of research, and open new and unexpected opportunities. One of these new opportunities has become a reality this week: the first interdepartmental start-up company, TeraNova B.V., has been founded.
TeraNova B.V. is an initiative of the Applied Physics research group Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics (Prof. Jaime Gómez Rivas) and Electrical Engineering research group Integrated Circuits (Prof. Marion Matters-Kammerer). Besides Gómez Rivas and Matters-Kammerer, also Dr. Mohammad Ramezani (Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics) and ing. Corné van Puijenbroek (Integrated Circuits) have co-founded TeraNova BV. Ramezani is appointed as Director of TeraNova.
The mission of TeraNova B.V. is to commercialize a unique terahertz microscope that was developed with a grant of the European Research Council (ERC proof of concept grant MICROMAP, https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/196358/factsheet/en). TeraNova B.V. will also provide measurement services to high-tech companies in the Brainport region and beyond.
Terahertz light is light outside the visible spectrum that is particularly difficult to generate and detect. Despite these limitations, THz light can literally make the invisible visible, being of great interest for multiple applications. THz light will constitute the basis for communication technologies beyond 6G. It can be used to inspect the electrical quality of semiconductor wafers without breaking or touching them. It can also be employed to inspect the content of envelopes or packages without opening them, or it can be applied to detect cancerous tissue without using optical markers.
The new instrument of TeraNova B.V. can detect THz light with very high spatial resolution over large areas by quickly scanning a probe (see image). This detection is done in combination with a laser that is used to illuminate the sample. The laser activates the sample and the THz probe measures the response. This principle of laser illumination and THz detection is already of high relevance for the inspection of thin semiconductor layers that are fabricated for integrated circuits, solar cells and light emitting diodes.