We are happy to observe increasingly high interest in our THz imaging technology and products being displayed by many researchers, industrial clients and OEM manufacturers. The number of terahertz applications of our technology is steadily growing, which is a clear indication of the growing level of trust in our technology, our company and our products. Below are the most salient and popular applications for you to consider.
We all know that homeland terror knows no bounds and is currently on the rise. What’s more, terror methods are becoming more ingenious with hidden weapons and threats which are hard to detect. Security-related applications can be subdivided into two major subcategories as outlined below.
Security screening of letters, envelopes and small packages
Detecting powder, liquids, explosives and other threats in small packages and mail has recently become highly important. After discovering letters containing anthrax, such new threats as CBRE (chemical, biological and radiological elements) are perceived as real and require new and effective detection approaches to counter them. Designed for inspecting flat objects (envelopes, letters, small packages), our Terahertz imaging scanner offers a brand-new approach for security screening in terms of safety, accessibility and detection.
Security screening of people (body scanner)
Unlike X-ray machines, Terahertz waves are completely harmless for humans and have no ionizing radiation, but can easily penetrate clothes and some other enclosures. These properties make THz-based people screening solutions extremely valuable for applications where human health and safety are of utmost importance.
The TeraSense security body scanner operates in reflection mode and is intended for stand-off detection of weapons, including cold steel and firearms, bombs and grenades, explosive belts and various contraband items hidden under clothes.
There are a number of materials used in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics industries which are fairly transparent in terahertz waves. This makes our THz imaging technology very attractive as a harmless non-destructive testing (NDT) technique for drugs, pills, medical products and baby’s diapers on industrial production lines. For instance, tablet manufacturers can use our high-speed terahertz imaging scanner at a speed up to 15m/sec for quality control (QC) to make sure every pouch in a tablet blister is properly filled with a tablet and that there are no empty blisters at the end of the process line. It is not uncommon when such packing material as paper, carton and plastic are used, which have been proven to be completely transparent in THz light, enabling our technology to «see though’ the package and identify all missing items.
Food and agriculture
Perhaps more so than anywhere else, in the food and agricultural industries it is highly critical for qualitycontrol and inspection testing to avoid the use of ionizing radiation (X-rays) due to their detrimental effect on biological agents. This is where terahertz imaging technology, developed and commercialized by TeraSense, is extremely useful; for instance, checking if a robotic arm has put all candy bars into the carton, or checking for foreign bodies and insects inside of packaged food containers. Seeing through cardboard or PE packaging poses no problem to our THz imager. Checking the quality of various agricultural products like nuts and seeds also opens up huge perspectives for THz technology in this field too.
The High-Speed Linear Terahertz Scanning system developed and manufactured by TeraSense for conveyor applications is a perfect solution for non-destructive testing and quality control of different materials in an industrial environment. One of the key benefits of the TeraSense THz imaging technology is its high sensitivity to different features and inclusions in the volume of non-metallic materials (ceramics, plastics, wood). Evaluation of density and humidity variations in the pressed powders (‘green tiles’ and kiln-fired tiles in the ceramic industry) is one of the most distinguished applications of the system, which has already been proved by factory tests!
A number of industrial NDT techniques, such as X-ray density scanning, infrared moisture sensors, visible light optical scanners and microwave kiln drying, employ separate parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to provide imaging of the wood in the wood processing industry. Yet despite the unique properties of the terahertz (THz) gap of the electromagnetic spectrum, THz imaging devices still do not top the list of wood-processing industrialists. However, there is no doubt that the high-speed THz imaging scanner solution from TeraSense is going to break the mold!
Detection of hidden defects in wood (which are difficult to detect using other technologies, e.g. color vision) is the first that comes to mind. Such defects may include, but are not limited to, knots, hollows, and foreign bodies like nails, screw and wormholes, and rotten as well as wet areas.
Research into new materials and semiconductor technology had expanded existing boundaries to the terahertz extremes, which opened doors for commercializing the THz technologies in numerous markets and various applications.
TeraSense’s technology shows promise in the automotive industry for such applications as detection of disrupted steel (and nylon) reinforcement and foreign inclusions inside rubber parts and detection of corrosion in coated metal parts.
Terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionize molecules / atoms, and are therefore harmless for living organisms. THz radiation is not highly scattered in tissues (unlike optical emission). Besides this, due to strong absorption of T-rays by water, terahertz imaging can be a useful tool to investigate soft tissues. These unique properties of T-rays make them eligible for use in various medical applications, some of which hold enormous promise, like a non-invasive technique for early detection of cancer, ex-vivo spectroscopy, dental care etc.
Development of semiconductor technology and the research of new materials has expanded the utilized frequency limits to THz regions and opened doors for new applications in a number of industries such as wireless communication, homeland and personal security, medical diagnostics, FMCG packaging, food and wood processing, ceramic tiles production, and many more.
More recently terahertz technology has been used in only a few scientific applications in radio astronomy and lab research, and these terahertz systems were expensive and bulky solutions. Indeed, every research project has its specific requirements.
Some of the popular practical applications of our THz imaging cameras are beam profiling/measurement, which includes imaging of beams from TDS and FDS spectroscopy systems.
Researchers who are interested are welcome to read more about terahertz imaging for sciences