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Posted: Mar 28, 2016
New terahertz source could strengthen sensing applications
(Nanowerk News) 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.
Now Northwestern Engineering’s Manijeh Razeghi has developed a new type of security detection device that bypasses these issues. With the ability to detect explosives, chemical agents, and dangerous biological substances from safe distances, the device could make public spaces more secure than ever.
“A single-component solution capable of room temperature continuous wave and widely frequency tunable operation is highly desirable to enable next generation terahertz systems,” said Razeghi, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.
The design of Razeghi's terahertz tuning source.
Director of Northwestern’s Center for Quantum Devices, Razeghi and her team have demonstrated a room temperature continuous wave, highly tunable, high-power terahertz source. Based on nonlinear mixing in quantum cascade lasers, the source can emit up to multi-milliwatts of power and has a wide frequency coverage of one-to-five terahertz in pulsed mode operation.
“I am very excited about these results,” Razeghi said. “No one would believe any of this was possible, even a couple years ago. This initial demonstration was very exciting, and continuing developing will lead us to the new frontier of terahertz technology.”