Prof. Dr. Björn Globisch

Terahertz Sensor Systems

Those who have walked through a body scanner at the security check at the airport has already experienced the terahertz sensor technology. For more than seven years, Prof. Dr. Björn Globisch has been researching this electromagnetic radiation, which lies in the spectrum between the classical high frequency and the infrared range. Since October 2019 he has been ECDF Professor for Terahertz Sensors at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) and at Technische Universität Berlin. The physicist is also head of the research group "Terahertz Sensor Systems" at HHI.

According to Globisch, the generation and detection of terahertz radiation is still a challenge, but it has unique properties: "Many materials such as plastics, ceramics, paints and varnishes as well as textiles are transparent in the terahertz frequency range," he explains. In addition, terahertz measurement technology is contactless, so that, for example, the thickness of paint layers on car bodies can be measured with a resolution in the micrometer range. "Thanks to its low photon energy, terahertz radiation is also completely harmless to humans. This opens up a wide range of further applications".

Another exciting aspect for Globisch is the transmission of large amounts of data using terahertz frequencies. "Our data rates continue to rise due to increasing digitalization. This raises the question: What comes after 5G," says Globisch. "Terahertz waves can be used to transmit much higher data rates than 5G wirelessly. In the laboratory, transmission lines 100 to 500 meters long already work," he reports.

In the future, Globisch would also like to focus on 3D imaging processes and the intelligent evaluation of image data. "As a physicist, I would like to work with colleagues at ECDF who are data scientists or experts in machine learning," he says.