Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Single-pixel 'multiplex' captures elusive terahertz images

30.06.2014

Boston College, New Mexico and Duke researchers advance THz imaging using unique metamaterial

A novel metamaterial enables a fast, efficient and high-fidelity terahertz radiation imaging system capable of manipulating the stubborn electromagnetic waves, advancing a technology with potential applications in medical and security imaging, a team led by Boston College researchers reports in the online edition of the journal Nature Photonics.


Developed by a team of researchers from Boston College, the University of New Mexico and Duke University, a "multiplex" single pixel imaging process effectively tames stubborn terahertz (THz) light waves with electronic controls in a novel metamaterial. As the graphic shows, THz image waves are received by a metamaterial spatial light modulator, which in turn sends multiple data points from the THz scene to a single-pixel detector, which computationally reconstructs the image faster, more efficiently and with higher-fidelity than conventional THz imaging technology. Credit: Nature Photonics

The team reports it developed a "multiplex" tunable spatial light modulator (SLM) that uses a series of filter-like "masks" to retrieve multiple samples of a terahertz (THz) scene, which are reassembled by a single-pixel detector, said Boston College Professor of Physics Willie Padilla, a lead author of the report.

Data obtained from these encoded measurements are used to computationally reconstruct the images as much as six times faster than traditional raster scan THz devices, the team reports. In addition, the device employs an efficient low power source, said Padilla, whose research team worked with colleagues from the University of New Mexico and Duke University.

"I think we were surprised by how well the imaging system worked, particularly in light of the incredibly low power source," said Padilla. "Traditional THz imaging systems use sources that demand much more power than our system."

Metamaterials are designer electromagnetic materials that have tunable optical properties, allowing them to interact with light waves in new ways. Those unique properties have proven conducive to working with THz light waves, which have longer wavelengths than visible light and therefore require new imaging technology.

Padilla said the team set out to use metamaterials to develop an imaging architecture superior to earlier THz camera designs, which have relied on expensive and bulky detector arrays to assemble images.

Central to the team's advanced device is the development of a spatial light modulator constructed from a unique metamaterial structure by researchers at the University of New Mexico's Center for High Technology Materials. The SLM, which deploys a series of masks to obtain select image information from the THz scene, showed it effectively tames the otherwise stubborn THz light waves, which have defied other forms of frequency controls such as electronic sensors and semiconductor devices.

The metamaterial SLM efficiently modulates THz radiation when an electronically controlled voltage is applied between two layers of the metamaterial, effectively changing its optical properties and allowing it to actively display encoding masks designed to retrieve THz images. One such encoding technique allowed the researchers to access negative encoding values, which allow for higher fidelity image reconstruction.

A negative encoding value typically requires phase-sensitive sources and detectors, multiple detectors, or taking twice the number of measurements in order to create the image. The team created its "masks" without additional equipment or measurements, allowing researchers to use a more robust image encoding method that increased image quality while reducing the time needed to acquire the image.

Since it offers improved results without additional equipment, researchers engaged in "multiplexing" THz imaging could quickly adopt the new imaging approach. The findings add to a growing body of research that shows metamaterials are a viable option for the construction of efficient SLMs at THz wavelengths.

"In the long run, I think we set out a new paradigm for imaging at longer wavelengths," said Padilla. "Rather than including an expensive and bulky detector array in an imaging system, high-fidelity images can be obtained with only a single pixel detector and a low power source, allowing for a compact and inexpensive THz imaging system."

Padilla said a new generation of metamaterial THz imaging systems could help realize the potential applications projected by researchers and theorists.

"This type of imaging system has the potential to make a huge impact," said Padilla. "The ability to image a scene with THz could be used to screen for cancerous skin cells, monitor airports and other secure areas for illegal drugs or explosives, and perform personnel screening to look for concealed weapons."

###

In addition to Padilla, the research team included BC graduate students Claire M. Watts and David Shrenkenhamer and undergraduate Timothy Sleasman; University of New Mexico Professor Sanjay Krishna and graduate students; and Duke University Professor David R. Smith and graduate students, of the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics.

Ed Hayward | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.bc.edu

Further reports about: SLM THz detector detectors encoding measurements metamaterials properties spatial wavelengths waves

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Twisting magnets enhance data storage capacity
12.02.2016 | Hiroshima University

nachricht A metal that behaves like water
12.02.2016 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa 2016

12.02.2016 | Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

LIGO confirms RIT's breakthrough prediction of gravitational waves

12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer

12.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Using 'Pacemakers' in spinal cord injuries

12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>