Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trapping T-Rays for Better Security Scanners

12.07.2013
Medical diagnostic and security scanners with higher sensitivity could result from University of Adelaide research into detecting T-rays (terahertz waves).

Published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials, the researchers describe a novel structure which traps terahertz waves in tiny (micro-scale) holes to produce much higher contrast imaging than currently possible.

Terahertz waves, which are electromagnetic waves with frequencies between those used for mobile phone communications and for optical fibre communications, are used for some airport body scanners and other security scanners to see through packages and clothes. They are also capable of distinguishing malignant from healthy tissues for cancer detection.

“This work takes an unconventional path to detecting terahertz waves,” says Dr Withawat Withayachumnankul, project leader and ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Dr Withayachumnankul has worked with RMIT University in Melbourne and Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany to produce the new structure using metamaterials (materials that show non-natural properties with the use of carefully engineered structures).

The structure is made of tiny (micro-scale) cavities etched into the surface of silicon. Terahertz waves that hit the structure are captured and compressed inside the cavities.

“By tailoring the silicon properties through the use of micro-structures (the size of a cross-section of human hair) it is possible to trap and confine the waves in a volume much smaller than the wavelength of the terahertz waves,” says Dr Withayachumnankul.

“This significantly improves the efficiency of terahertz devices such as scanners and will have broad impact on biomedicine and homeland security, where better contrast means more accurate identification.”

RMIT team leader Dr Sharath Sriram says: “We needed to carefully select appropriate materials and processes to produce this device. We couldn’t construct the micro-cavities in our first choice of material so we changed to silicon which we had to adapt to make it slightly electrically conductive. We then used established silicon microfabrication techniques to create the micro-cavities, exploiting the conductive properties.”

The new structure could be added to conventional terahertz imaging devices to enhance their performance.

The research was supported by the Australian Research Council and partially by a Victoria Fellowship to Dr Sriram.

Photo caption: A concept design of the silicon-based metamaterial. For a larger version of the file email media@adelaide.edu.au

Media Contact:

Dr Withawat Withayachumnankul
ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8313 1812
Mobile: +61 402 946 480
withawat@eleceng.adelaide.edu.au
Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084
robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au

Robyn Mills | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Glass's off-kilter harmonies
18.01.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

nachricht Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level
18.01.2017 | Institute for Basic Science

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>