New York: A new compact radiation device that can be operated in room temperature can significantly improve public security by detecting explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances from safe distances, says a study.
In contrast to visible or infrared light, terahertz radiation has the potential to penetrate materials such as plastics cloth or paper products.
But current devices that use terahertz radiation are large, multi-component systems that sometimes require complex vacuum systems, external pump lasers and even cryogenic cooling.
"A single-component solution capable of room temperature and widely tunable operation is highly desirable to enable next generation terahertz systems," said Manijeh Razeghi, professor at Northwestern University.
The device has applications in medical and deep space imaging as well as security screening.
"I am very excited about these results," Razeghi said. "No one would believe any of this was possible, even a couple years ago."
The findings appeared in the journal Applied Physics Letters.