Mona Jarrahi received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2000 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003 and 2007. She served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at University of California Berkeley from 2007 to 2008. After serving as an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, she joined University of California Los Angeles in 2013 as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and the Director of the Terahertz Electronics Laboratory. Prof. Jarrahi has made significant contributions to the development of ultrafast electronic and optoelectronic devices and integrated systems for terahertz and millimeter-wave sensing, imaging, computing, and communication systems by utilizing novel materials, nanostructures, and quantum well structures as well as innovative plasmonic and optical concepts. The outcomes of her research has appeared in 150 publications and 120 keynote/plenary/invited talks and have received a significant amount of attention from scientific news outlets including EE Times, Popular Mechanics, IEEE Spectrum, Optics & Photonics News Magazine, Laser Focus world, Photonics Spectra Magazine, and SPIE Newsroom.
Although unique potentials of terahertz waves for chemical identification, material characterization, biological sensing, and medical imaging have been recognized for quite a while, the relatively poor performance, higher costs, and bulky nature of current terahertz systems continue to impede their deployment in field settings. In this talk, I will describe some of our recent results on developing fundamentally new terahertz electronic/optoelectronic components and imaging/spectrometry architectures to mitigate performance limitations of existing terahertz systems. In specific, I will introduce new designs of high-performance photoconductive terahertz sources that utilize plasmonic antennas to offer terahertz radiation at record-high power levels of several milliwatts – demonstrating more than three orders of magnitude increase compared to the state of the art. I will describe that the unique capabilities of these plasmonic antennas can be further extended to develop terahertz detectors and heterodyne spectrometers with single-photon detection sensitivities over a broad terahertz bandwidth at room temperatures, which has not been possible through existing technologies. To achieve this significant performance improvement, plasmonic antennas and device architectures are optimized for operation at telecommunication wavelengths, where very high power, narrow linewidth, wavelength tunable, compact and cost-effective optical sources are commercially available. Therefore, our results pave the way to compact and low-cost terahertz sources, detectors, and spectrometers that could offer numerous opportunities for e.g., medical imaging and diagnostics, atmospheric sensing, pharmaceutical quality control, and security screening systems. And finally, I will briefly highlight our research activities on development of new types of high-performance terahertz passive components (e.g., modulators, tunable filters, and beam deflectors) based on novel reconfigurable meta-films.