Helmholtz International Research School for Teratronics

Research Area V: THz Technologies

The Helmholtz International Research School for Teratronics (HIRST) has ceased operations in 2019.
The ANKA storage ring at KIT emits very high bursts of Terahertz signals.
Measurement of turn-by-turn and bunch-by-bunch signals recorded with a fast terahertz detector and the KAPTURE system. Four trains consisting of approx. 33 bunches (electron packages) can be recognized.
Scanning electron microscopy image of a logarithmic-spiral THz antenna with a bandwidth of 100 GHz to 2.5 THz.

RA V aims at devices for handling THz waves and the associated applications.

Current research activities in RA V are mainly linked to ANKA, KIT’s Synchrotron Radiation Facility, to superconducting THz detectors, and to quantum computing using superconducting quantum bits (qubits).

As a large-scale facility of the Helmholtz Association, ANKA is part of the national and European infrastructure offered to scientific and commercial users for performing excellent science. In a joined effort, KIT institutes develop the necessary cutting-edge technologies. In the so-called low-alpha mode the ANKA storage ring at KIT is operated to compress the electron packages (so-called bunches) to very small bunch lengths for which micro-bunching instabilities can occur. Micro-bunching leads to spontaneous changes in the emitted coherent synchrotron radiation (CSR) intensity.

These changes can be observed as very high bursts in emitted terahertz (1 THz = 1012 Hertz) signals for single-bunch mode as well as in multi-bunch mode at the ANKA storage ring. For the investigation of multi-bunch effects on the longitudinal dynamics of electrons in the storage ring, two fundamental diagnostic instruments are mandatory: Ultra-fast terahertz detectors to resolve single bunches and dedicated acquisition hardware to monitor all signals turn-by-turn. Each turn corresponds to one revolution of the electron packages in the storage ring near the speed of light. The KAPTURE (KArlsruhe Pulse-Taking and Ultrafast Readout Electronics) system, a joint development between several institutes of KIT, in combination with ultra-sensitive, ultra-fast, and superconducting detector developments within RA V can fulfill these challenging tasks.

Regarding THz and single-photon detectors superconducting transition-edge sensors (TES) and hot-electron bolometers (HEB) are currently investigated. These detectors provide highest sensitivity in the THz frequency range. Current research is geared towards readout many of such detectors on a single chip by using frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) schemes.

Quantum computing using superconducting circuits underwent rapid development in the last decade. This field has propelled from quantum manipulation of single two-level systems to complex designs employing multiple coupled qubits allowing one to execute simple quantum algorithms. Within HIRST program, we study transmon qubits coupled to on-chip resonators to observe multi-photon transitions.

Participating Institutes and Research Groups


Prof. Dr. Anke-Susanne Müller

Laboratory for Applications of Synchrotron radiation


Prof. Dr. Michael Siegel

Institute of Micro- and Nanoelectronic Systems (IMS)


Prof. Dr. Alexey Ustinov

Physical Institute (PHI)



Stefanie Peer PictureInternational Department, KIT
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Stefanie Peer

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