Terahertz Imaging for Sciences

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 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.

A significant breakthrough has happened in terahertz imaging for the last few years thanks to developing materials which made it possible to produce more powerful terahertz sources and higher sensitivity THz imagers, which opened the door to commercializing the THz technology in a wide range of applications and markets.

Astronomy

THz technology application has substantially grown in astronomy science due to increased interest in terrestrial remote sensing at 100 GHz, and 1 THz frequencies for obtaining images of astrophysical sources and interpretation of observed THz light in the astrophysical sources.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Annual global IP traffic passed the zettabyte limit at the end of 2016, and will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019. Moreover, peak hour internet traffic will reach 1.4 petabytes per second (Pbps) in 2019. Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices in 2017. As the demand for higher data rates increases, so does the need for a higher frequency band that is able to transmit huge amounts of data to meet consumers’ requests for ever-increasing data usage.

Chemical Fingerprinting

Scanning of visually opaque packaging to detect and classify internal substances, without being unpacked or its structure destroyed, makes terahertz imaging a unique technology for this kind of application used in security screening, FMCG packaging, and quality control in a number of industries. One of the crucial applications is the distant detection of explosives or illegal drugs hidden in packages or carried on people. The idea is to analyze the signal reflected from the suspected object and identify its unique composition by the signature of the material.

Medicаl Imаging

Unlike X-rаy, terаhertz rаdiаtion hаs no ionizing effect and is therefore hаrmless to people, which mаkes the T-rаys а promising tool for medicаl imаging. The development of new imаging technologies, especiаlly non-ionising ones, which will improve prognosis, is of cruciаl importаnce. А number of novel imаging technologies hаve been developed, although they аre still in the initiаl stаges of development аnd serious drаwbаcks obstruct them from offering their benefits to the medicаl field. In the 21st century, it is believed thаt nаnotechnology will significantly influence our everydаy life аnd drаmаticаlly chаnge the world of medicine, including medicаl imаging. Innovаtive scientific concepts thаt use nаnotechnology-bаsed techniques will help to overcome some of the limitаtions of the use of THz imаging.

Significant progress has been made in terahertz band (0.3 – 3 THz) circuit fabrication, and continued growth in terahertz applications requires the availability of quality test and measurement equipment. Robust and calibrated on-wafer measurements of planar millimeter and sub-millimeter wave devices can significantly reduce the effort required to characterize wafers while increasing the accuracy of the measurement by eliminating errors and effects associated with fixtures. (Tonouchi, 2007)

Terasense technology is already successfully used in such applications as:

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