Thomas Crowe

Dr. Thomas W. Crowe

Title: Stretching Electronic Technology through the Terahertz Frequency Band

Biography: Dr. Thomas W. Crowe received the B.S. (Physics) from Montclair State College in 1980, and the M.S. (1982) and the Ph.D. (1986) from the University of Virginia, both in Electrical Engineering. He joined the UVa faculty as Research Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1986, and was promoted to Research Professor in 1997. He served as the Director of the Semiconductor Device Laboratory from 1987 through 2003. He has authored over fifty referred publications and well over one hundred conference proceedings papers. He has also presented numerous invited talks throughout the US, Europe and Asia. While at UVa, Prof. Crowe was the PI on $25M of sponsored research from NSF, NASA, JPL, NRAO, and the U.S. Army and Air Force, as well as private industry. Prof. Crowe and his UVa research team worked to enable scientific measurements through the development of Schottky diode technology for frequencies ranging from a few hundred GHz through 5 THz. Contributions include: improved understanding of the operation, design and manufacture of terahertz diodes, the first demonstrations of planar mixer and varactor multipliers that competed favorably with the previous whisker-contacted devices, and the first integrated terahertz diode circuits. Throughout this period Prof. Crowe’s team was also the primary supplier of diodes for the worldwide terahertz community, including both scientific research teams and the nascent terahertz industry.

Dr. Crowe founded Virginia Diodes, Inc. in 1996. VDI’s mission is to accelerate the emergence of terahertz technology as a tool for scientific, industrial, commercial and security/defense applications. This effort includes both advancing the core electronic technologies and making the latest advancements broadly available through the commercial market. VDI is a thriving small business that has supplied terahertz devices, components and subsystems to an ever-growing customer base of many hundreds of companies, research laboratories and universities. Through this effort, VDI has developed terahertz sources with unprecedented power and versatility. These are critical for scientific applications such as radio astronomy, plasma diagnostics and molecular spectroscopy. For example, VDI developed and supplied all of the frequency multipliers for the international ALMA observatory, as well as the LO sources for the terahertz heterodyne receivers on the US/German airborne observatory (SOFIA). VDI has also developed compact receiver systems for NASA’s atmospheric studies, most recently for CubeSATs. VDI is also focused on laboratory test and measurement equipment, including frequency extenders for signal generation, signal analysis and vector network analysis. Fully calibrated vector network analysis at frequencies up to 1.1 THz is now routine, and VDI’s extender systems are available up to 1.5 THz. The commercial availability of this technology enables the characterization of terahertz materials, components and systems, and is thereby accelerating the emergence of new applications of terahertz waves.