EPic Laboratory

Terahertz Emitting INK

Terahertz Ink (THink) is a novel, optically excited terahertz source. It looks like other inks and can be printed the same way. However, it is entirely unique when examined with Terahertz technology. The specific composition allows ‘writing’ a desired terahertz emission in the ink before and after its application, allowing part of the terahertz emission to remain permanent and part to become volatile.

What is terahertz radiation


The ancient Greeks believed that eyes were the source of beams of light that allows humans to see. Although residing in myth, it is surprising how this view can be seminal to how modern science can see beyond what is visible. Terahertz has been probably one of the least accessible electromagnetic bands for several decades. It lies between the domains typically covered by electronic and photonics, and yet it is generally inaccessible to both. For this reason, this region has been historically referred to as the ‘THz gap’. Relatively recent technological advances are modifying this picture. Terahertz is pursued in light of a number of potential advantages offered as diagnostics. Nevertheless, in relativterms, many applications still remain elusive, and the development of THz technologies requires very specific expertise. 


Print with THink

THink is the first terahertz source that can be distributed in liquid form with the same deposition requirements as standard inks. Thus, ican be easily deposited on extensive surfaces and arbitrary objects in normal atmospheric conditions. In the anticounterfeiting domain, THink can provide a remarkable form of active protection, as it exhibits an electromagnetic fingerprint (i.e., an electromagnetic response with unique recognizable featureswhen triggered by a specific excitation. Without this specific trigger, its unique features are not revealed, and, more generally, it does not have particularly revealing features compared to standard inks, even upon inspection with Terahertz cameras. 

Written Ink

THink can be customized in several fashions to emit different unique fingerprints, with no significant differences under visible inspection. It is also possible to create a non-emitting version of THink with no visibly apparent differences. Via an inkjet means it is then possible to embed invisible permanent terahertz fingerprint morphologies, creating tags with complex information content. Besides, it is also possible to comply with aesthetic constraints typical of many luxury brand. 

THink can be also written, erased, and re-written via electromagnetic means after it is deposited on the target surface. This means that the morphology of the Terahertz emission can be changed without any apparent alteration of the ink layer. Hence, THink can embed also information that can be erased. Within the market of current terahertz solutions, no terahertz source available can access these applications as they are bulky, no suitable for large-area deployment and not “friendly” with other objects.

THink has been designed by the Emergent Photonics Lab in collaboration with Advanced Material Development and  Materials Physics group at Sussex. Materials Physics’ research focuses on liquid-processable nanomaterials to enable new functionalities in electronic, optical, and energy devices. Led by Prof. Alan Dalton, Materials Physics has applied processes developed for 2D materials to produce THink.

THink is currently in active development. At the current stage, we are networking with industrial players to incorporate THink in different applications scenarios. For further information about how to embed THink in your specific application, you may contact

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme Grant agreement n° 725046. and  n° 862258.

Prof. Marco Peccianti
Director of Emergent Photonics Lab, http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/epic/
University of Sussex
Office: +44 (0) 1273873171
E-mail: m.peccianti@sussex.ac.uk

Disclosure of THink specifications, benchmarks, general performances, and detailed deployment features will require a Non-Disclosure Agreement between parties. For business-related inquiry, to invest or partner in the development of THink foreground or IP licensing and exploitation,  please contact 

Dr. Sue Baxter,
Director of Innovation and Business Partnerships 
University of Sussex
Office: +44 (0)1273 877626
E-mail: Sue.Baxter@sussex.ac.uk