Q-Eye is a spin out venture from the University of Warwick’s Physics Department. Professors Evan Parker and Terry Whall have successfully developed and patented, with partners, a market leading sensor.
The device senses energy between microwaves and infra-red, which helps to detect hidden objects, such as weapons, defects or health problems.
It is exceptionally sensitive:
Q-Eye has the potential to capture very small packets of energy
(single photons, dark noise equivalent power 10-21 W/√Hz)
The sensor responds incredibly quickly:
It could sense people or goods as they move past
(response time of pico seconds)
Q-Eye senses passively:
It does no harm yet can see below surfaces
It uses a silicon platform:
Compatible with other devices and low-cost
Q-Eye’s vision is to revolutionize the THz-GHz industry and make our world a safer and better place. Our mission is to use our technology to improve THz sensing across multiple sectors.
Faster detection of hidden objects by
Warwick terahertz sensor
19th September 2015
A new type of sensor, that is much faster than competing technologies used to detect and identify hidden objects, has been developed by scientists at the University of Warwick.
Called ‘Q-Eye’, the invention senses radiation across the spectrum between microwaves and infra-red, known as the Terahertz (THz) region of the spectrumDownload full press release
Leading the University of Warwick’s Nano-Silicon Group which conducts world-leading research into strained Si-Ge-Sn-C heterostructures. His specialism is ‘Cooltronics’ – a new discipline investigating mechanisms for super-low temperature cooling – as well as developing the concept of the cold-electron bolometer. He co-founded and chaired a previous spin-out company focused on leading-edge solar cells and is currently a Professorial Research Fellow.
Terry has over 50 years’ experience in the electrical properties of solids and semiconductor devices and co-lead the Nano-Silicon Group from 1987-2006, where he remains as Professorial Research Fellow.
He has specialized in researching the characterization of strained Ge/Si electronic and cooltronic devices.
Phil is a co-founder of CSR plc which was founded in 1998, listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2004 and became a FTSE 250 company three months later. CSR became Europe’s largest fabless semiconductor company and was acquired by Qualcomm in 2015 for $2.5Billion. In 2006, Phil left CSR to become an angel investor where his focus is technology-intensive companies in both the UK and Ireland. Phil also works with Universities to help them commercialise the results of their research.
The Chief Executive Officer of Warwick Venture. Quentin has over 17 years’ international business development experience within early-stage technology companies, including 11 years as CEO before joining Warwick Ventures in 2011.
Melody is one of Warwick Ventures’ Business Development Managers assigned to Q-Eye. As a chartered engineer, she has experience of supporting small companies with their business and manufacturing strategies and raising finance through grants and loans. She has direct experience of designing new products through her own consultancy company.
The Q-Eye sensor is essentially a "cold electron bolometer" (CEB) device, which detects a small rise in temperature when electromagnetic radiation is absorbed. An aluminum antenna couples millimetre wave or terahertz radiation into the sensor, which heats a small strained silicon absorber.
By operating the device at 350mK the aluminum behaves as a superconductor, which together with Schottky electrical contacts to the absorber, results in further cooling of the bolometer and reduction in coupling between the electrons and the silicon lattice, thereby maximizing the response. This results in very high sensitivity of the bolometer and response time to radiation.
The noise floor of the present bolometer is 10-17 W/√Hz. Values as low as 10-21 W/√Hz are projected for scaled devices. The Q-Eye sensor has a fast time response estimated to be 10 nano-seconds, with projected values down to 10 pico seconds.
This performance is several orders of magnitude better than competing cooled detectors.
The use of strained silicon, and enhanced tunnel junction cooling, are the subjects of two patents (WO2015067933 A1 for the tunnel junction and WO2015067932 A1 for the bolometer).