About the Innovator

The University of Glasgow, founded in 1451, has been host to many key inventions including the telephone by Alexander Graham-Bell, the steam engine by James Watt and television by John Logie Baird, to name but a few. Over the past 20 years, it has been at the forefront of R&D of Resonant Tunnelling Diode (RTD) technology in Europe (with commercialisation of an RTD-based electro-absorption-modulator via a start-up company  in 2002). The RTD activities, based in the High Frequency Electronics Group (School of Engineering) of the university of Glasgow, now include R&D of compact millimetre-wave (mm-wave) and terahertz (THz) integrated circuit sources for new applications in imaging, ultra-broadband wireless communications as well as radar sensors.

What is the innovation

The innovation supports future application scenarios rich in data content that require ultra-broadband short-range wireless communications. Technically this means: low-cost, low-power consumption, compact mm-wave and THz high power sources operating at room temperature. What has already been demonstrated (1mW power levels up to 300 GHz) is an unprecedented performance level in conventional semiconductor-based electronic device technologies.

The team is working towards using low-cost silicon processing technology that reduce the cost of III-V semi-conductor RTD by growing these novel III-V devices on silicon substrates. This technology (currently at TRL 5) is being used to realise communication system prototypes for laboratory demonstration. This work is supported in the H2020 iBROW project.

Photograph of a fabricated RTD source during measurement setup with probes landed on the chip. The chip size is approx. 0.6mm × 1.2mm

Out of the lab – Into the Market

The related Intellectual Property that is emerging is being protected through the Research & Enterprise department of University. Opportunities that we envisage for commercialisation of the technology include licensing and possible launch of a start-up company.

Benefits of participation in the Framework Programme

Participation in the H2020 iBROW project has been key to translating our resonant tunneling diode technology from TRL 3-4 to TRL 5-6 besides providing visibility for the technology to a wider potential user base.