Aydin Babakhani, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has won a Bell Labs Prize for his work on new tiny terahertz devices that can produce and receive a broad spectrum of terahertz radiation at a low cost, opening the door to the imaging of our world in new ways.

The Bell Labs Prize is an international competition for innovators with ideas that will significantly “change the game” in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10. The prize comes with $50,000.

Babakhani’s team was the first to produce electromagnetic signals beyond one terahertz using a silicon chip. Building on their research, the team recently demonstrated gas sensing, hyper-spectral imaging, and micro-Doppler based vibration sensing using terahertz waves generated by a single silicon chip.

“We have demonstrated a single-chip device that can produce any electromagnetic signal from 30 gigahertz to 1.1 terahertz with a record resolution of 2 hertz,” Babakhani said. “That is an accuracy of 2 parts per trillion covering a record range of frequencies.”