Washington: Radiation similar to that used to treat cancer may some day help detect explosive powder hidden underneath clothing.
The mechanism operates in the Terahertz gap - the range between microwave and infrared frequencies. Until now, scientists have not been able to tap into these frequencies with much success.
The novel radiation mechanism developed by University of Central Florida physicist Richard Klemm and a team of scientists in Japan also could help doctors more directly target cancer and many other diseases.
"It`s a small range but these frequencies are the important ones absorbed by biochemical molecules," Klemm said.
Instead of simply using radiation to kill tumours, this technique may offer a more direct way to track down what`s ailing a patient, the journal Physical Review Letters reported.
"Our mechanism could be used to detect the amino acids in DNA, which may be linked to specific diseases. That means it`s a good diagnostic tool," Klemm said.
Medicine is just the beginning. The mechanism could be used to track tiny traces of explosives hidden under clothing, a tool that could prevent terrorist attacks, a University of Central Florida release said.
The technique also could be used to trace and potentially destroy specific chemicals that damage the environment and our bodies.
"These applications are still years away, but this is a significant progress and we`re very excited," said Klemm, a pioneer in the field of layered superconductivity.