Inexpensive Terahertz Technologies for Moisture Sensing

This research will lead to new methods to detect hazardous chemicals that pose direct threats to people in urban and rural settings. Gas phase ammonia (NH3) is classified as a toxic atmospheric pollutant that arises from agricultural, transportation, and industrial activities. Leveraging advances in photonic integrated circuits and the 5G and 6G millimeter-wave technologies for communications, new spectroscopic sensing platforms are being developed that are inexpensive and deployable in many environments. This project will focus on designing, building, and testing a spectrometer-based sensor for chemical sensing.

Faculty Advisor: Doug Petkie | WPI (Physics, Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Teacher Component: Teachers will learn the different stages of the development of a sensor, from identifying the need for the sensor, the benefit that it will provide, the physics of detection, to the integration of technologies. Activities have a wide span to match the interest and background of the teacher, from the quantum mechanics of the spectral signature to hands-on building and testing the system, to collecting and analyzing data for specific applications to validation of the sensor performance. As a side project, there will be the complete development of a radar unit that will be able to sense the location and speed of targets by sensing the Doppler shifted frequency. The unit will be comprised of relatively inexpensive components from tech hobbyists companies and the teacher will be able to take it back to the classroom for experiments or interactive demonstrations.