Fabrication of 3-D, Wavelength-Tuneable Photonic Crystals for Space-based mm-Wave, Terahertz, and Infrared Communications

Tuneable Photonic Crystals for the millimeter-wave, Terahertz, and Infrared regimes have important applications for satellite communications and remote sensing.

In this application, we are proposing the fabrication of a novel metamaterial for frequency-tuneable, photonic-crystal (PhC) bandpass filters in the 0.03-30 THz region; this corresponds to wavelengths in the 10 mm to 10 𝜇𝑚 regime–which encompass mm-wave, terahertz, and far- to mid-infrared communications. As the photonic crystal filters are dynamically tuneable, they will be used to modulate carrier waves in the 0.03-30 THz frequency band, e.g. to generate FM or AM modulated signals. These wavelengths are especially useful in space, as they can be used for communications between satellites and/or high-altitude balloons. The PhC filters can also be used to “tune into” specific frequencies which are amplified, as occurs in an RF receiver. Finally, where transmitters and receivers are modulated synchronously, the encoded information can be sent securely between satellites & balloons at useful rates.

The research fits best within the SmartSat “Dynamic Payloads for Communications and Earth Observations” and will provide SmartSat CRC with a key technological edge.


Project Leader:
Professor James Maxwell, La Trobe University