Exclusive comments by Dr. Kenneth O

TxACE director Kenneth O (left), professor of electrical engineering, with member Dae Yeon Kim
Dr. Kenneth O, director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence
and a professor of electrical engineering, left, worked with a
team including Dae Yeon Kim, right.

On Tuesday of this week, I posted a link to the story which was about the recent development of a chip which can both transmit and receive terahertz signals, and could herald much smaller, and cheaper terahertz units, than provided by current optical scanners. http://terahertztechnology.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-T-could-mean-cellphones-that.html
Terahertz chips small and cheap enough to be placed in everyone's cellphones is the current "buzz on the net".
This chip has been developed by Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas and director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence.(TxACE)

In an effort to find out more about this work, and see what Dr. O envisions about the commercial development of this chip, I wrote to him and asked 3 possible topics I wanted his opinions about. (I wasn't sure he would either respond, and I certainly didn't anticipate he would directly answer my cursory, and hastily prepared questions. If I had known that he would respond I would have asked many more, and perhaps Dr.O will let me ask additional, and better questions in the future.)

The good news is that Dr. O, did respond to my questions, and has given me permission to share them with readers of this blog. Here are the 3 questions and answers:

I'm curious how quickly you believe the CMOS chips can be implemented into commercial use and production?
This will very much depend on resources. If properly supported, two to three years will be needed to commercial use.

Are you actively in talks to market any application of the chip?


Are you chips similar to the ones Dr. Peter Sigel at JPL has developed, or how about the chips being developed at DOT5, in Europe?

Dr. Siegel has been using discrete GaAs Schottky diodes. He makes the best detectors however, they will not affordable the way CMOS approach we are using will be.

I am not sure what are all being done under DOT5. I am aware of the silicon based work done in Germany by Prof. Pfeiffer and in France by Prof. K. Wojciech. Elements (detector+amplifier) in our imaging array have more than 10X lower NEP than other CMOS based imagers.

Thank you, so very much Dr. O, for responding to these initial questions! I hope to learn more about the UT Dallas CMOS terahertz chips developed by Dr. O in the future. Let's hope so.

This story has created a literal explosion of interest about terahertz on the internet, with news articles galore, and blog after blog mentioning the story. I've seen the number of visitors to this blog soar, this week.
I've also observed some apprehension among the terahertz retail investment community that this development could represent a paradigm shift in THz scanners, which some believed would happen literally overnight making what is now cutting-edge, state of the art, somehow obsolete. Frankly, in my opinion those concerns are overblown, and frankly silly, comparing as one investor noted: "immature orange blossoms, with ripe apples".
This doesn't mean the development of CMOS chips for THz, development isn't both revolutionary and a significant advance for THz, because it is both. Practical applications however remains several years off, and commercial applications will take both time and funding. Additionally, I envision the contribution of CMOS, to be synergetic to existing systems, and I anticipate the ultimate applications will complement and be incorporated in future versions of systems coming onto the factory floor today.

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