ISG THz Activity Report 2023

Chair: Thomas Kürner, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Centre for Digitalization

Establishing the technical foundations for the development and standardization of advanced communications using Terahertz technology.

A huge amount of bandwidth is available in THz bands (identified by ITU as 137 GHz of spectrum between 275 and 450 GHz). At such frequencies it is possible to achieve extremely high data rates, as well as easing spectrum scarcity problems.

The small wavelength of THz signals enables the realization of compact and miniaturized devices and antennas. It is possible to integrate multiple antenna elements within a limited form factor and realize pencil-sized beams.

The specific propagation properties of THz signals enable accurate sensing and imaging capabilities and may be exploited for integrated sensing and communication functionalities. Advances in the semiconductor industry and the emergence of new materials are facilitating the realization of THz devices. These include three main fabrication approaches:

  • Electronic (high output power)
  • Photonic (low noise)
  • Plasmonic (energy efficient)

ETSI’s Industry Specification Group (ISG) THz provides the opportunity for ETSI members to share their pre-standardization efforts on THz technology resulting from various collaborative research projects and being extended with relevant global initiatives, towards paving the way for future standardization of the THz technology.

Complementing the work of other ETSI Technical Bodies – including ISG RIS – and other organizations such as 3GPP, IEEE 802, ITU‑R, NGMN, one6G and O‑RAN Alliance, the group concentrates on establishing the technical foundation for the development and standardization of THz communications. Its scope accordingly covers:

  • Definition of target scenarios and frequency bands of interest.
  • Analysis of specific radio propagation aspects for THz communication, such as molecular absorption, effect of micro-mobility, specific considerations for scattering, reflections, and diffractions, and considerations for near-field propagation.
  • Analysis of data from earlier measurement studies; the performance of channel measurements for the selected scenarios and frequency bands.
  • Development of channel models for the selected scenarios and frequency bands.
  • Establishment of baseline for THz technology fundamentals, including antenna assumptions, RF hardware modelling, and simulation assumptions.

Following its approval by the ETSI Board in September 2022, ISG THz held its first ‘post-kickoff’ plenary in February 2023, where the scope of the group’s planned technical work was presented. Read the blog here.

During 2023 the group made further progress on its first suite of deliverables, with publication expected from the beginning of 2024. Work Items currently in development include four Group Reports:

  • GR THz 001 - Identification of use cases for THz communication systems [subsequently published January 2024].
  • GR THz 002 - Identification of frequency bands of interest for THz communication systems.
  • GR THz 003 - Channel measurements and modelling in THz bands.
  • GR THz 004 - RF hardware modelling.

During the year the group has presented its aims and activities at the ETSI Research Conference ‘Maximizing the Impact of European 6G Research through Standardization’; as well as at 6G‑focused industry events hosted by the World Wireless Research Forum, 6G World and 6G Summit.

See the full list of ISG THz Work Items currently in progress here.