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Communications The Military Science Technology

DARPA Creates 0.85 THz Solid State Receiver 84

hypnosec writes "DARPA, under its THz Electronics program, has designed a solid state receiver capable of THz (terahertz) frequencies thus inching towards the possibilities of transistor-based electronics that will operate at THz frequencies. The newly designed solid state receiver demonstrates a gain at 0.85 THz. This particular milestone is a stepping stone for the next target of 1.03 THz. Because of this achievement a host of DoD electronics capabilities can now be realized. One such application where this can be of use is for a sensor that will operate through clouds under a DARPA program dubbed VISAR."
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DARPA Creates 0.85 THz Solid State Receiver

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  • All for war (Score:1, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @02:55PM (#40887871) Homepage Journal

    Here is what they want this for:

    This revolutionary advance would give U.S. warfighters an advantage in an especially challenging portion of the RF spectrum

    As per usual, it's all for war, it's all that government is interested in.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @03:05PM (#40887965)

    ... or are they going to try to make a CPU/GPU core at this speed?

    In the long run, maybe. In the short run you aren't going to like it. A very stereotypical microwave LNA MMIC operating around a factor of 100 lower then this device frequency (in other words, cheap and off the shelf) consisting of a couple transistors is biased much like a LED... couple volts, couple dozen mA. Lets call it 4 volts at .040 amps thats 160 milliwatts per device. For rounding purposes lets say a tenth of a watt per transistor. So if you have a roughly quarter million transistor original 386 a 10 GHz discrete 386 made out of microwave transistors would draw about 30 or so KW. Which is quite a lot of power. Of course you don't need low noise small signal performance or great fan in / fan out ratios... Regardless high speed individual devices certainly like their DC power.

    The problem with making processors fast is keeping them fed with something to do. CPU tech always seems to lead memory/IO/algorithm design, I can't remember an era when the "memory guys" were waiting on the "processor guys" to catch up. With current tech a 1 THz CPU would merely spend 99.9% of its time in idle waiting for memory... But nothing in the world could run a NOP or an endless loop faster than that device.

  • Re:All for war (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cavreader ( 1903280 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @04:11PM (#40888483)

    Even the hint that a certain technology may have military applications is the surest way of getting large amounts of money to continue the research. Plus there is another world war on the horizon that will make WW2 look like a pillow fight. It's unavoidable to pretend otherwise. All those shouting "can't we all just along" will be the first killed. Should be the ultimate reality show.

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