The field of optical design and analysis in the terahertz (THz) waveband suffers from a lack of dedicated simulation tools for modelling the unique range of electromagnetic and quasi-optical propagation conditions encountered in typical systems. This is a serious shortcoming in a field undergoing a huge expansion in importance with the development of terahertz technology in biotechnology, communications, secure networks, medical imaging and remote sensing. Our research programme is addressing this need by developing analytical techniques and powerful dedicated CAD software. The Terahertz Optics Group at NUI Maynooth is uniquely well placed to undertake such a programme, having an international reputation in this field and several current collaborative projects with research groups at Cambridge, Stanford, Cardiff and Caltech.
We are also investigating T-ray imaging systems, particularly with biomedical applications in mind. Non-invasive imaging of tissue status and viability is a very useful and benficial target in the field of bio-medical science and clinical medicine. We have formed a collaboration with Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at NUIM to design and manufacture a prototype imager using the software tools and techniques developed as part of this programme. Imaging with T-rays will complement research using near infrared laser based systems already taking place at NUIM for analysing cognitive and other mental tasks in a project also involving MediaLab Europe. Ultimately the aim of the project is to develop a user friendly software environment that would allow non-experts to design efficient T-ray quasi-optical delivery systems.