Q. Jane Gu
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Q. Jane Gu (Rishi Donapati/UC Davis)

New NSF Funding Will Advance Sub-Terahertz/Terahertz Dielectric Sensor Research

Professor Q. Jane Gu leads the project to bridge the critical gap between optical and electronic sensing

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Q. Jane Gu has received funding from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, for her sub-terahertz/terahertz dielectric sensors research.  

The nearly $400,000 grant will fund a proposed project, the results of which are expected to not only directly advance ubiquitous dielectric sensing but also impact society at large.  

The dielectric constant, also referred to as relative permittivity, of a substance or material is a measure of its ability to store electrical energy and is an important property of materials and biological cells. 

According to Gu, the ubiquitous and fast sensing of dielectric constants will not only help humans better understand themselves and their surrounding environments but also help prevent devastating events such as global pandemics. Gu and her research group hope to bridge the critical gap between optical sensing and electronic sensing. 

“Ubiquitous dielectric sensing requires not only high performances such as accurate, robust and trustworthy results but also a fast response, small form factor, low cost and low power consumption for sensors to be widely deployed in different scenarios and applications,” Gu explained. 

To realize their goal of ubiquitous sensing, Gu and her research group will employ sub-terahertz/terahertz, or THz, ring-resonator-based dielectric sensors to leverage the benefits of both high-performance optical micro-ring resonator sensors and unparalleled on-chip signal processing with THz speed from advanced semiconductor devices and circuits. 

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