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Conference History & Proceedings

The International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology (ISSTT) is an annual conference established in 1990, sponsored back then by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology and originally hosted by the University of Michigan. The Symposium participants gather to discuss research relevant to the generation, detection, and use of terahertz radiation for current and future suborbital and space missions in Astrophysics, Planetary Science and Earth Science.


For those unfamiliar, Space Terahertz refers to applications of THz technology in space. The terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum lies in wavelength between the far-infrared and the millimeter-wave bands. Such electromagnetic waves are of longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light, but of shorter wavelength and higher frequency than microwaves or broadcast radio waves. The term Terahertz (THz) is a unit of frequency and is equivalent to one trillion (10×10¹²) hertz (Hz). This means that a wave that has a frequency of one THz has one trillion wave cycles per second. Since all electromagnetic radiation travels at the same speed in a given medium, e.g., air or a vacuum, the shorter the wavelength the higher the frequency. In a vacuum, radiation at 1 THz has a wavelength of about 300 micrometers. Terahertz radiation is also called submillimeter wavelength radiation, and is usually characterized by its wavelength (in vaccum) in micrometers or its frequency in terahertz.


Terahertz technology is used in molecular spectroscopy, radio astronomy, and atmospheric physics. Terahertz radiation emitted by celestial objects is of interest to astronomers and astrophysicists for the information it provides on their properties. Astronomical observations at THz frequencies are complementary to optical and lower-frequency radio observations. In atmospheric physics, terahertz technology can be used to study the Earth's atmosphere. Half of the luminosity and 98% of the photons emitted since the Big Bang are at terahertz frequencies.

The conference proceedings were originally hosted by the Center for Space Terahertz Technology at the University of Michigan. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Library took over this responsibility in 2009. The Center for Space Terahertz was formerly one of the Space Technology University Programs affiliated with NASA and continues as a research effort into terahertz technology today. The NRAO is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. In the last years, the conference has been also technical sponsored by the MTT-S society of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers. A special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science & Technologies is published every year with a selection of the most relevant papers presented in the conference.

During his more than 30 years of history the conference has been held in different venues all over the world. You can see the venues and access the conference technical proceedings using the list and map below:

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