© 2018 Elsevier B.V. In this paper we present a new cavity backshort design for TES (transition edge sensor) detectors which will provide increased coupling of the incoming astronomical signal to the detectors. The increased coupling results from the improved geometry of the cavities, where the geometry is a consequence of the proposed chemical etching manufacturing technique. Using a number of modelling techniques, predicted results of the performance of the cavities for frequencies of 4.3–10 THz are presented and compared to more standard cavity designs. Excellent optical efficiency is demonstrated, with improved response flatness across the band. In order to verify the simulated results, a scaled model cavity was built for testing at the lower W-band frequencies (75–100 GHz) with a VNA system. Further testing of the scale model at THz frequencies was carried out using a globar and bolometer via an FTS measurement set-up. The experimental results are presented, and compared to the simulations. Although there is relatively poor comparison between simulation and measurement at some frequencies, the discrepancies are explained by means of higher-mode excitation in the measured cavity which are not accounted for in the single-mode simulations. To verify this assumption, a better behaved cylindrical cavity is simulated and measured, where excellent agreement is demonstrated in those results. It can be concluded that both the simulations and the supporting measurements give confidence that this novel cavity design will indeed provide much-improved optical coupling for TES detectors in the far-infrared/THz band.