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Monday, June 20, 2016
Abstract-Wireless multi-level terahertz amplitude modulator using active metamaterial-based spatial light modulation
The ever increasing demand for bandwidth in wireless communication systems will inevitably lead to the extension of operating frequencies toward the terahertz (THz) band known as the ‘THz gap’. Towards closing this gap, we present a multi-level amplitude shift keying (ASK) terahertz wireless communication system using terahertz spatial light modulators (SLM) instead of traditional voltage mode modulation, achieving higher spectral efficiency for high speed communication. The fundamental principle behind this higher efficiency is the conversion of a noisy voltage domain signal to a noise-free binary spatial pattern for effective amplitude modulation of a free-space THz carrier wave. Spatial modulation is achieved using an an active metamaterial array embedded with pseudomorphic high-electron mobility (pHEMT) designed in a consumer-grade galium-arsenide (GaAs) integrated circuit process which enables electronic control of its THz transmissivity. Each array is assembled as individually controllable tiles for transmissive terahertz spatial modulation. Using the experimental data from our metamaterial based modulator, we show that a four-level ASK digital communication system has two orders of magnitude improvement in symbol error rate (SER) for a degradation of 20 dB in transmit signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) using spatial light modulation compared to voltage controlled modulation.