Our state-of-the-art facilities include the Hyper Terahertz Facility and the Nonlinear Microwave Measurement and Modelling Laboratories (n3m-labs).

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Hyper Terahertz Facility

The Hyper Terahertz Facility is a joint facility enabling NPL and Surrey to drive research in quantum technology.

Bringing together the NPL's Time, Quantum and Electromagnetics (TQEM) division’s expert knowledge in terahertz (THz) generation and Surrey’s knowledge of research in silicon single atom quantum technology, the facility is located in Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) and is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Hyper Terahertz Facility enables experiments in the terahertz spectrum – a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is currently underused – which researchers believe holds the key to a number of breakthroughs in quantum technology.

The primary focus of research will be to investigate how the short, high-power pulses of the terahertz spectrum can be used to control the ability of electrons to be in two places at once, which is a crucial requirement in the advance of quantum computing.

The facility will thus help to enable researchers to develop new kinds of transistors at the ultimate limits of nanotechnology, where a single atom controls the signal flow.

Quantum computers will be able to make calculations much more rapidly than standard computers and therefore have the potential for huge improvements across many industries, for example, by helping researchers to understand how receptors within the body open up to receive drugs.

Nonlinear Microwave Measurement and Modelling Laboratories (n3m-labs)

The Nonlinear Microwave Measurement and Modelling Laboratories (n3m-labs) are an entirely new facility dedicated to measurement and modelling of nonlinear RF and microwave technologies.

The labs are based at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) in Guildford, and at NPL's TQEM division in Teddington.

The Surrey lab has been funded by a £2 million strategic equipment grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The n3m-labs are a national resource and the first of its kind in the world to enable the complete characterisation of microwave and millimetre-wave devices, circuits, sub-systems and systems. These include:

  • On-wafer S-parameter measurement
  • Pulsed-IV
  • On-wafer and fixture-based high-power loadpull
  • Nonlinear vector network analyser (NVNA) measurements

Multi-physics characterisation using high-frequency electro-optic field probing and advanced thermal reflectance measurement techniques allow dynamic high-frequency electric fields and temperature gradients to be captured simultaneously during device operation. 

Extensive cluster computing resources and software allow n3m-labs to study the details of the coupling between the semiconductor device, temperature, and electric fields that can limit the performance of a high-power microwave transistor.

The labs offer core capability comprising comprehensive nonlinear microwave network analysis and on-wafer probing systems for planar micro- and nano-electronic circuits and components.

In addition, the n3m-labs facilities at the ATI, University of Surrey, include loadpull capability, thermal sensing and electromagnetic field sensing (for devices operating in-situ), and electronic circuit modelling, using large-scale computer clusters.

The n3m-labs facilities at NPL include:

  • Millimetre- and submillimetre-wave frequency range extenders (to 750 GHz)
  • PCB probe stations
  • On-wafer probe stations (to 220 GHz)
  • Modelling capability using electromagnetic time- and frequency-domain field solvers

The n3m-labs facilities are available for use by industrial companies, SMEs and research groups. Find out more

Lab directors

  • Dr Peter Aaen, Reader in Microwave Semiconductor Device Modelling, Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), University of Surrey
  • Professor Nick Ridler, Electromagnetics Science Leader, TQEM, National Physical Laboratory

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