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  1. Abstract This study presents findings in the terahertz (THz) frequency spectrum for non-contact cardiac sensing applications. Cardiac pulse information is simultaneously extracted using THz waves based on the established principles in electronics and optics. The first fundamental principle is micro-Doppler motion effect. This motion based method, primarily using coherent phase information from the radar receiver, has been widely exploited in microwave frequency bands and has recently found popularity in millimeter waves (mmWave) for breathe rate and heart rate detection. The second fundamental principle is reflectance based optical measurement using infrared or visible light. The variation in the light reflection is proportional to the volumetric change of the heart, often referred as photoplethysmography (PPG). Herein, we introduce the concept of terahertz-wave-plethysmography (TPG), which detects blood volume changes in the upper dermis tissue layer by measuring the reflectance of THz waves, similar to the existing remote PPG (rPPG) principle. The TPG principle is justified by scientific deduction, electromagnetic wave simulations and carefully designed experimental demonstrations. Additionally, pulse measurements from various peripheral body parts of interest (BOI), palm, inner elbow, temple, fingertip and forehead, are demonstrated using a wideband THz sensing system developed by the Terahertz Electronics Lab at Arizona State University, Tempe. Among the BOIs under test, it is found that the measurements from forehead BOI gives the best accuracy with mean heart rate (HR) estimation error 1.51 beats per minute (BPM) and standard deviation 1.08 BPM. The results validate the feasibility of TPG for direct pulse monitoring. A comparative study on pulse sensitivity is conducted between TPG and rPPG. The results indicate that the TPG contains more pulsatile information from the forehead BOI than that in the rPPG signals in regular office lighting condition and thus generate better heart rate estimation statistic in the form of empirical cumulative distribution function of HR estimation error. Last but not least, TPG penetrability test for covered skin is demonstrated using two types of garment materials commonly used in daily life. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. We present a topology for suppressing quantization lobes in 1-bit reconfigurable reflective surfaces (RRSs). RRSs are planar surfaces that redirect the imping waves to the desired direction through phase modulation. For single-bit modulation, plane-wave illuminated RRSs exhibit quantization lobes due to the limited number of available phase bits. To eliminate such lobes, we randomize the quantization error by employing a fixed but random phase delay in every unit-cell of the RRS. Specifically, we focus on the fabrication and characterization of a mmWave single-layer, 1-bit, 30×30 randomized RRS designed at 222.5 GHz. The quasi-optical RCS characterization of the fabricated RRS demonstrates the successful suppression of the quantization lobe using the proposed technique. 
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  3. We present a novel fabrication technique for large-scale, on-wafer graphene devices. With the proposed technique, large-area graphene apertures can be fabricated, enabling the proliferation of graphene-based reconfigurable devices, including metasurfaces. Such topologies require large-area high yield fabrication processes. To avoid graphene delamination during the chemical processes of the fabrication, we use a titanium sacrificial layer to protect the graphene monolayer. To evaluate the fabrication method, we present broadband in-plane graphene measurements in the 220-330 GHz band for the first time and compare the measured resistance sheet with previous works. 
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  4. We present a theoretical study on the performance of graphene-loaded coplanar waveguide switches for 5G and beyond applications. Therefore, we exploit the tunable properties of graphene to device cost-effective, large-scale, broadband sub- millimeter-wave switches. Given the sheet impedance of biased and unbiased graphene monolayers, the model provides the optimum switching ratio with respect to insertion loss, characteristic impedance of transmission line, and graphene geometry. Using measured graphene sheet resistance, we compute the optimum switching performance for series and shunt single- pole-single-though sub-millimeter-wave (220-330 GHz) switches. 
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  5. We characterize a novel fabrication procedure for the implementation of large arrays of subwavelength graphene devices. With the proposed process, we can now integrate graphene layers on large substrate areas (> 4 cm2) and implement thousands of devices with high-yield (> 90 %). Examples of such systems include broadband THz phased arrays and metasurfaces that can be used in THz imaging and sensing. Current nano-fabrication processes hinder the proliferation of large arrays due to the fragile nature of graphene. Conversely, we use titanium sacrificial layers to protect the delicate graphene throughout the fabrication process. Thus, we minimize graphene delamination and enable multiple devices on large-area substrates with high-yield. In addition, we present a series of on-wafer measurement results in the 220-330 GHz band, verifying the robustness of our fabrication process. 
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