CHESTNUT HILL, MA (June 29, 2014) A novel metamaterial enables a fast, efficient and high-fidelity terahertz radiation imaging system capable of manipulating the stubborn electromagnetic waves, advancing a technology with potential applications in medical and security imaging, a team led by Boston College researchers reports in the online edition of the journal Nature Photonics.
The team reports it developed a "multiplex" tunable spatial light modulator (SLM) that uses a series of filter-like "masks" to retrieve multiple samples of a terahertz (THz) scene, which are reassembled by a single-pixel detector, said Boston College Professor of Physics Willie Padilla, a lead author of the report.
Data obtained from these encoded measurements are used to computationally reconstruct the images as much as six times faster than traditional raster scan THz devices, the team reports. In addition, the device employs an efficient low power source, said Padilla, whose research team worked with colleagues from the University of New Mexico and Duke University.
"I think we were surprised by how well the imaging system worked, particularly in light of the incredibly low power source," said Padilla. "Traditional THz imaging systems use sources that demand much more power than our system."
Metamaterials are designer electromagnetic materials that have tunable optical properties, allowing them to interact with light waves in new ways. Those unique properties have proven conducive to working with THz light waves, which have longer wavelengths than visible light and therefore require new imaging technology.
Padilla said the team set out to use metamaterials to develop an imaging architecture superior to earlier THz camera designs, which have relied on expensive and bulky detector arrays to assemble images.
Central to the team's advanced device is the development of a spatial light modulator constructed from a unique meta
|Contact: Ed Hayward|