The ancient Greeks were the first to study the reflection and refraction properties of visible light. It then took thousands of years before the discovery of ‘light’ outside of our visible spectrum, with William Herschel discovering "calorific rays" (infrared radiation) and Johann Ritter discovering "chemical rays" (ultraviolet radiation). Scientific giants like Michael Faraday, André-Marie Ampère and James Clerk Maxwell went on to expand our understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Today’s heavily overcrowded radio frequency spectrum has seen extensive commercial exploitation by the multi-trillion dollar telecommunications industry. However, even next generation 5G mobile communications is reaching practical frequency limits imposed by the high costs associated with operation at such short wavelengths. As a result, research by scientists and engineers is being carried out to find low cost solutions at terahertz frequencies and within the ‘Over the THz Horizon’ thermal infrared.
Unsurprisingly, the thermal infrared finds technological applications in thermography, with ubiquitous examples that include thermometers, motion sensors, thermal cameras and even therapeutic treatments. Professor Stepan Lucyszyn believes this part of the spectrum is still largely overlooked. In his inaugural lecture he will briefly retrace the history of our understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and the discovery of engineering solutions that could lead to new paths for the commercial exploitation of the thermal infrared, with applications ranging from low-cost secure communications to non-destructive testing.
Stepan Lucyszyn is Professor of Millimetre-wave Systems and Director of the Centre for Terahertz Science and Engineering, at Imperial College London. After working in industry, as a satellite systems engineer for maritime and military communications, he spent 12 years developing microwave and millimetre-wave integrated circuit technologies at King’s College London and the University of Surrey. He came to Imperial College London in 2001 and worked on microelectromechanical systems, wireless power transfer and, more recently, terahertz and ‘Over the THz Horizon’ thermal infrared technologies.
Professor Lucyszyn has authored approximately 200 papers and 12 book chapters in applied physics and engineering, and delivered many Plenary and Keynote presentations at international conferences. He was an IEEE Distinguished Microwave Lecturer from 2010 to 2013, and has been a EuMA European Microwave Lecturer since 2013. Professor Lucyszyn was made a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK, 2005), Institution of Engineering and Technology (UK, 2005), The Electromagnetics Academy (USA, 2008) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (USA, 2014). In Apr. 2014, he co-founded the Imperial College London spin-out company Drayson Wireless Ltd.
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