The terahertz Universe

08 March 2013

Terahertz Techniques, a textbook that deals with all aspects of terahertz technology, is now available. Heinz-Wilhelm Hübers is head of the Department of Experimental Planetary Physics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research and a professor at the Technische Universität Berlin. Together with Erik Bründermann from the Ruhr University Bochum and Maurice Fitzgerald Kimmitt from the University of Essex, he is one of the three authors of the book published by Springer Verlag. The textbook is a coherent and didactically clearly structured text that communicates the basics as well as providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of scientific knowledge for students and researchers who wish to enter this interesting and rapidly developing field of research.

Formation and evolution of stars

Research into the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum and the development of innovative technologies for its exploitation have progressed at great speed in the last 15 years. The authors of Terahertz Techniques have made crucial contributions in this respect; Kimmitt played a key role in the development of the first terahertz laser in the world. "Although a lot has happened in the field of terahertz research in the last few years, there has never been a textbook that comprehensively covers this highly topical research field," Professor Hübers comments. "The use of terahertz technologies is of particular interest to astronomy and planetary research, as observations in this range of the spectrum can contribute significantly to our understanding of the origin and development of stars, planets and smaller celestial bodies, such as comets or asteroids," Hübers continues. "It is, however, only one part of terahertz research," he added. "Other research fields are spectroscopy and imaging, for example in security applications, quality assurance and industrial process control. There are also potential new areas of application in chemistry, biology and medicine."

A comprehensive book

In almost 400 pages and an introductory chapter on the history of this research field, the Terahertz Techniques textbook offers detailed information about its basics, the materials, radiation sources, detectors as well as spectroscopy and imaging in the terahertz range. The connection with current research is established by references to more detailed relevant articles. The clear structure guides the reader through the various aspects of terahertz technology. Numerous vivid graphics and pictures supplement the content. An index makes it quick and easy to look up a topic, and the comprehensive bibliography with more than 700 references allows for deeper study. This makes the book suitable both as a general introduction to the subject for students, and as an indispensable reference work for anyone working or intending to work in this exciting research field.

Last modified: 08/03/2013 14:37:13

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Melanie-Konstanze Wiese
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

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Observing star formation in the optical and terahertz ranges

Sternentstehung aufgenommen im optischen und im Terahertz%2dBereich

Star formation in clumps of gas in the galactic HII Region. RCW 120. Researchers can observe these formations at terahertz frequencies due to their low temperatures.

The book cover

Ansicht des Buchumschlags

'Terrahertz Techniques' is published by Springer as part of the series of books entitled 'Optical Sciences'.

GREAT infrared spectrum of M17

GREAT%2dInfrarotspektrum von M17

GREAT collected its first terahertz photons from the M17SW star forming cloud on 6 April 2011. Superposed on a near-infrared false-colour image obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope (NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Povich, Univ. Wisc.), you will see selected spectra of ionized carbon ([CII], white line) and warm carbon monoxide (CO, green line). The high spectral resolution of GREAT is necessary to study the velocity structure across the cloud, as unveiled by the different line profiles. The field studied in the sky is overlaid on the infrared image, and the velocity integrated distribution of [CII] and CO is displayed in the inserts at the bottom. The data obtained with GREAT shows the warm interface of the M17 molecular cloud exposed to the ionizing radiation of nearby massive stars.

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA

Das Stratosphären%2dObservatorium für Infrarot%2dAstronomie SOFIA

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, during its first test flight with its telescope exposed, on 13 July 2010. The German-built 2.5-metre infrared telescope is visible through the opening in the aircraft.

The German instrument GREAT in SOFIA

Das deutsche Instrument GREAT in SOFIA

The GREAT receiver (metallic silver) mounted on the telescope (in blue) on the SOFIA airborne observatory.


  • Experimental Planetary Physics
  • DLR Institute of Planetary Research