A compact terahertz radiation source was recently created by researchers and could help make public spaces safer than ever. It could help detect explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances from safe distances.
The current terahertz sources are large, multi-component systems that sometimes require complex vacuum systems, external pump lasers, and even cryogenic cooling. The unwieldy devices are heavy, expensive, and hard to transport, operate, and maintain.
Manijeh Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, said that a single-component solution capable of room temperature and widely tunable operation was highly desirable to enable next generation terahertz systems.
The device has applications in medical and deep space imaging as well as security screening.