Toward THz Pulsed Radars

Andrea Neto

Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands

A THz radar can realize images with fine lateral resolutions even with moderate antenna sizes. However, exploiting only limited absolute Bandwidth (BW), state of the art THz radars provide at most a moderate centi-metric range resolutions. Within this paper I will describe the strategy of the Tera Hertz Sensing group to break the mm range resolution limit, by developing radar front ends capable of producing images with extreme resolutions, with refresh rates in the tenths of a second, at a fraction of the complexity of existing THz radar architectures. This could be achieved by exploiting pulsed Optical-to-THz up/down conversions via Photoconductive Antennas (PCA). PCA’s have never been proposed as Radars yet, mostly because the power available from reliable sources was only sufficient for localized spectroscopy. This bottle neck, has now been cleared by the TS Group: reproducible m-watt power sources in the THz spectrum have been demonstrated which are 50 times more powerful than what has been commercially available. The remaining bottle necks are mostly associated to pulse conditioning. In a Radar, one cannot resort to differential measurements as in spectroscopy. The spreading of the pulses in the unknown channels must be separated from the spreading in the Tx and Rx front ends.

Andrea Neto (M’00–SM’10–F’16) received the Laurea degree (summa cum laude) in electronic engineering from the University of Florence, Italy, in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in electromagnetics from the University of Siena, Italy, in 2000. Part of his Ph.D. degree was developed at the European Space Agency Research and Technology Center, Noordwijk (ESTEC), The Netherlands. He was with the Antenna Section, at ESTEC, for over two years. From 2000 to 2001, he was a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, where he was with the Sub-Millimeter-Wave Advanced Technology Group. From 2002 to 2010, he was a Senior Antenna Scientist with TNO Defense, Security, and Safety, The Hague, The Netherlands. In 2010, he became a Full Professor of applied electromagnetism at the Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) Department, Technical University of Delft, Delft, The Netherlands. In 2011, he was a recipient of the European Research Council Starting Grant to perform research on Advanced Antenna Architectures for THz Sensing Systems. This grant jump started the THz Sensing Group which he still leads 

His current research interests include the analysis and design of antennas with an emphasis on arrays, dielectric lens antennas, wideband antennas, electromagnetic band gap (EBG) structures, and terahertz antennas. Dr. Neto is a member of the Technical Board of the European School of Antennas and the organizer of the course on antenna imaging techniques. He served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transaction ion Antennas and propagation from 2008 to 2013 and the IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters from 2005 to 2013 and then associate Editor of the IEEE Transaction on THZ Science and Technology. He was TPC Co-Chair for the Eucap 2021 Conference in Dusseldorf.