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Ultra-fast eLectronics for Terahertz Rapid Analysis in compact lab-on-chip applications (ULTRA)
Start date: Jun 1, 2008, End date: Nov 30, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In Medicine and Biology a fast, low cost and accurate analysis of samples, such as cancerous tissues or bio-molecules is of crucial importance. Nowadays, several medical instruments making use of different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are available to carry out analysis of samples, but their size, complexity and cost remain very high. Moreover, not all the regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are currently used and new, unexplored regions show exciting potential to greatly enhance analytic capabilities beyond what is possible today.The aim of the ULTRA project is to devise two new instruments with application in medical, biological and chemical analysis and detection. Both new instruments will be low cost, reliable, with low power consumption and with an extremely compact form factor by virtue of their lab-on-chip nature. They will be suitable for applications not currently covered by other instruments. They will be based on the use of terahertz radiation which is the last untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum and which has demonstrated a high potential for cancerous tissue detection and for label-free biomolecular sensing. One of the two instruments will, in addition, exploit plasmonics to achieve unprecedented sensitivity for biochemical detection in the THz frequency range.The development of such completely new instruments requires competences in several areas and the combined efforts of different groups, all leaders in their fields, is necessary to successfully tackle the problem. The innovative content of the proposal resides in the combination of the three emerging fields of "plasmonics", "THz technology" and "microsystem integration" and in the creation of completely new, integrated THz and plasmonics components.This consortium, due to its leading position in the field of THz, integration technology and THz plasmonics is the ideal working group to successfully face this challenge.

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