Radiation Watch: STUDY BACKGROUND

Over the last 100 years or so, physicists and engineers have progressively learned to exploit new areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. Starting with visible light, they have developed technologies for generating and detecting radiation at both higher and lower frequencies. Sandwiched between the optical on the short wavelength side and radio on the long wavelength extreme, the terahertz (THz) frequency range (also called the far infrared or submillimeter-wave region) has been the least explored and developed portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The potential usefulness of THz radiation, with its ability to penetrate a wide range of nonconducting materials, has been known for a long time. The first images generated using THz radiation date from as far back as the 1960s.

However, practical applications of THz radiation have been longer in coming, due to the so-called “terahertz gap.” The terahertz gap refers to the technologies needed to generate, channel and detect THz radiation subject to real-world constraints such as size, cost and operating temperatures. Recent developments in THz radiation sources, detectors and waveguides have started to close the terahertz gap, opening up a range of potential applications in transportation security, medical imaging, nondestructive testing and other fields. ∞∞∞∞∞ www.prnewswire.com ∞∞∞∞∞

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