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NJIT physicist sees terahertz imaging as ultimate defense against terrorism
Date:5/21/2010

t yet reached the market. Researchers say that such a system is at least five years away. The NJIT device, however, has great promise. According to Federici, THz imaging systems have an inherent advantage over millimeter wave imaging systems due to the intrinsically improved spatial resolution that one can achieve with the shorter wavelength THz systems (typically 300 micrometer wavelength) compared to longer wavelength millimeter wave systems. However, video-rate THz imaging systems are not as well advanced as their millimeter wave counterparts.

One technical limitation in developing video-rate THz imaging is the cost of THz hardware components including detectors. Consequently, THz imaging systems create images using a very small number of detectors in contrast to the million or more detectors that are used in digital cameras. According to Federici, one can use advanced imaging techniques, such as synthetic aperture imaging methods, to compensate for the relatively few number of THz detectors in an imaging system.

"The idea has been to apply different methods of imaging with radio waves, where many of the ideas for synthetic aperture imaging originated, to terahertz rays," said Federici. His research team has focused in particular on applications of synthetic aperture imaging to the terahertz range. "The advantage of this particular method is the ability to generate terahertz images with a large number of pixels using a limited number of terahertz detectors. This imaging method should also be capable of video-rate imaging, thereby enabling the real-time monitoring of people hiding concealed explosives or other dangers." A typical imaging system would be analogous to a still or video camera designed for this purpose.

In 2005, Federici and his research team received a U.S. patent for a terahertz imaging system and method that enables video-rate THz imaging with a limited number of detectors. Since 1995, terahertz imaging has grown in i
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Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
sheryl.m.weinstein@njit.edu
973-596-3436
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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