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Wave of the Future: Terahertz Chips a New Way of Seeing Through Matter

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Microchips like this can produce terahertz pulses.

Princeton University researchers have drastically shrunk the equipment for producing terahertz pulses, which last a millionth of a millionth of a second.

Credit: Frank Wojciechowski/Office of Engineering Communications, Princeton University

Researchers at Princeton University say they have created microchips capable of transmitting and receiving terahertz waves, which are electromagnetic pulses lasting one millionth of a millionth of a second.

Terahertz waves can pass through nonconductive materials, making them useful for medical imaging and security screening without the damage to human tissue caused by x-rays. However, terahertz waves have until now been difficult and impractical to use because they require bulky terahertz generators and lasers.

Within the new Princeton microchip, terahertz waves interact with a metal structure and create a unique distribution of electromagnetic fields. The researchers then interpret the patterns created by the waves.

To create a wider range of wavelengths within the terahertz band, the researchers found a way to generate and combine multiple wavelengths, creating very sharp terahertz pulses.

The team says the chip currently operates on the lower part of the terahertz band, so they plan to expand the chip's range.

From Princeton Engineering News
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