Former Research Areas

The Helmholtz International Research School for Teratronics (HIRST) has ceased operations in 2019.

Research Area I: Enabling Technologies

RA I conducted research on the technological basis for the fabrication of nanophotonic and teratronic components. This included process development, structural characterization and realization of demonstrator systems. One of the main challenges was to develop processes that allow patterning of structures with nanometer resolution and high reproducibility. Research in RA I was aimed at the further development of lithographic technologies such as electron beam lithography, direct-write two-photon lithography and X-ray lithography, as well as dry etching processes, nano-imprint technologies and thin film deposition.
In addition, processes for the fabrication of polymer waveguides and photonic coupling structures were the focus of RA I activities. With regard to the industrial use of teratronics, methods for upscaling laboratory processes to small-scale production have been developed, e.g. in the field of direct-write two-photon lithography.

 

Participating Institutes and Research Groups

Prof. Dr. Bryce Richards
Institute of Microstructure Technology

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schimmel
Institute of Applied Physics

Prof. Dr. Michael Siegel
Institute of Micro- and Nanoelectronic Systems

Prof. Dr. Mehdi Tahoori
Chair of Dependable Nano Computing

Prof. Dr. Martin Wegener
Institute of Applied Physics and Institute of Nanotechnology

Research Area II: Millimeter-Wave Electronics

Research in millimeter-wave electronics aimed to solve some of our biggest problems in the near future.
RA II focused on ultra-fast, miniaturized millimeter-wave modules and their integration with photonics. The work in RA II aimed to explore novel concepts for millimeter-wave devices and circuits and demonstrate their feasibility in proof-of-concept experiments. This included millimeter-wave integrated circuits realized in close collaboration with external technology partners, discrete element systems, and novel RF packaging approaches.

 

 

 

Involved Institutes and Research Groups

Prof. Dr. Alexey Ustinov
Physical Institute (PHI)

Prof. Dr.-Ing Thomas Zwick
Institute of Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics

Prof. Dr.Anke Susanne Müller
Laboratory for applications of synchrotron radiation

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ingmar Kallfass (University of Stuttgart)
Institute of Robust Power Semiconductor Systems

Research Area III: Integrated Nanophotonics and Plasmonics

RA III researched novel photonic and plasmonic device concepts and fabricated them both in internal cleanrooms and in collaboration with external technology platforms, taking advantage of large-scale photonic integration. Teratronics relies on close interplay between photonics and electronics, and future teratronic systems require scalable photonic device concepts that can be integrated in large volumes and enable high-speed signal processing with the lowest possible power consumption.

Within RA III, silicon photonics has been one of the key integration platforms. Silicon photonics enables large-scale photonic device processing and could even enable co-integration with electronic circuits. In addition, work has been done on novel hybrid system concepts that enable heterogeneous integration of photonic chips based on different material systems such as InP and SOI. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Involved Institutes and Research Groups

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freude
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ)

Prof. Dr. Christian Koos
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ)
Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Prof. Dr. Uli Lemmer
Light Technology Institute (LTI)
Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Prof. Dr. Bryce Richards
Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Prof. Dr. Michael Siegel
Institute of Micro- and Nanoelectronic Systems (IMS)

Prof. Dr. Alexey Ustinov
Physical Institute (PHI)

Prof. Dr. Marc Weber
Institute for Data Processing and Electronics (IPE)

Prof. Dr. Martin Wegener
Institute of Applied Physics and Institute of Nanotechnology

Prof. Dr. Juerg Leuthold (ETH Zurich)
Institute of Electromagnetic Fields (IEF)

Research Area IV: High-Throughput Digital Signal Processing

Enabling the highest bit rates for teratronics requires enormous signal processing power, standard processors will not be able to handle this in the near future. To meet this challenge, novel architectures and concepts for high-speed optical communications and real-time processing of terabit/s data streams were investigated in the former RA IV. The work in RA IV took advantage of the tremendous capabilities of state-of-the-art reconfigurable hardware systems and used tailored and optimized circuits to study and analyze teratronic systems and their limitations. For future teratronic systems, it will also be important for a wide range of engineers to be able to operate, program, and customize such systems without having in-depth knowledge of digital system design. This will be enabled by the novel programming concepts and system architectures developed: multiprocessor systems based on application-specific processors achieve data rates beyond those of standard communication processors, yet offer programmability in standard high-level languages to enable and facilitate the use of such systems in interdisciplinary applications such as teratronics.

Participating Institutes and Research Groups
     
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Becker
Institute of Information Processing Technology (ITIV)

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Stork
Institute of Information Processing Technology (ITIV)

Prof. Dr. Mehdi Tahoori
Chair of Dependable Nano Computing    

Prof. Dr. Marc Weber
Institute for Data Processing and Electronics (IPE)

 

 

 

Research Area V: THz Technologies

RA V was engaged in the development of devices for handling THz waves and related applications.
Research activities were mainly related to ANKA, KIT's synchrotron radiation facility, with superconducting THz detectors and quantum computing with superconducting quantum bits (qubits). As a large-scale facility of the Helmholtz Association, ANKA is part of the national and European infrastructure available to scientific and commercial users to perform excellent science. KIT institutes develop the cutting-edge technologies required for this purpose in a joint effort. In the so-called low-alpha mode, the ANKA storage ring at KIT is operated to compress the electron bunches (so-called bunches) to very small bunch lengths, where micro-bunching instabilities can occur.

 

 

Involved Institutes and Research Groups

Prof. Dr. Anke-Susanne Müller
Laboratory for Applications of Synchrotron radiation (LAS)         

Prof. Dr. Michael Siegel
Institute of Micro- and Nanoelectronic Systems (IMS)

Prof. Dr. Alexey Ustinov
Physical Institute (PHI)

 

 

Research Area VI: Teratronic Signal Processing and Terabit/s Communications

The goal of Research Area VI was to build high-speed optical communication systems using the technologies and devices from HIRST's other research areas. The systems include high-speed data processing in FPGAs or ASICs, integrated optical modulators with appropriate driver circuits, photonic devices for wavelength division multiplexing, optical transmission and data reception. Massively parallel wavelength division multiplexing (WFM) techniques based on frequency combs have been investigated for terabit/s data transmission. 

In addition to its importance for telecommunications, high-speed optical data transmission is also crucial for large-scale experiments in fundamental research. Some modern particle detectors consist of hundreds of millions of electronic channels that must be read out within tens of nanoseconds. Handling the corresponding data rates and volumes is one of the biggest challenges for future detector systems. Even with massive local data reduction, it will not be possible with today's electrical or optical data transmission systems to transmit all the data to the processing stages outside the detector. The desired reduction in power consumption, cost, and space requirements of an overall system can be achieved by monolithic integration of photonic devices and electronic circuits and was investigated in this RA.

In addition to optical data transmission, RA VI also addressed high-speed wireless links on carrier frequencies in the millimeter-wave spectrum, where enormous unlicensed bandwidths are still available for data transmission. The corresponding transmission systems are based on millimeter-wave integrated circuits.
RA VI relied on leading-edge facilities at the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ), the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT), the Institute of Microwave Engineering and Electronics (IHE) and the Institute of Data Processing and Electronics (IPE).

Involved Institutes and Research Groups

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Becker
Institute of Information Processing Technology (ITIV)

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Freude
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ)

Prof. Dr. Christian Koos
Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ)   

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Stork
Institute of Information Processing Technology (ITIV)

Prof. Dr. Mehdi Tahoori
Chair of Dependable Nano Computing

Prof. Dr. Marc Weber 
Institute for Data Processing and Electronics (IPE)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Zwick
Institute of Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics

Prof. Dr. Juerg Leuthold (ETH Zurich)
Institute of Electromagnetic Fields (IEF)

Prof. Dr. Ingmar Kallfass (University of Stuttgart)
Institute of Robust Power Semiconductor Systems, University of Stuttgart

 

 

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