Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Closing the terahertz gap: Tiny laser is an important step toward new sensors

A new imaging technology rapidly measures the chemical compositions of solids. A conventional image of a sample pill is shown at left; at right, looking at the same surface with terahertz frequencies reveals various ingredients as different colors. Such images would aid quality control and development in pharmaceutical manufacturing, as well as medical diagnosis and treatment.

CREDIT
Sterczewski et al.
A new imaging technology rapidly measures the chemical compositions of solids. A conventional image of a sample pill is shown at left; at right, looking at the same surface with terahertz frequencies reveals various ingredients as different colors. Such images would aid quality control and development in pharmaceutical manufacturing, as well as medical diagnosis and treatment. CREDIT Sterczewski et al.

Abstract:
In a major step toward developing portable scanners that can rapidly measure molecules in pharmaceuticals or classify tissue in patients' skin, researchers have created an imaging system that uses lasers small and efficient enough to fit on a microchip.

Closing the terahertz gap: Tiny laser is an important step toward new sensors

Princeton, NJ | Posted on July 25th, 2019

The system emits and detects electromagnetic radiation at terahertz frequencies -- higher than radio waves but lower than the long-wave infrared light used for thermal imaging. Imaging using terahertz radiation has long been a goal for engineers, but the difficulty of creating practical systems that work in this frequency range has stymied most applications and resulted in what engineers call the "terahertz gap."

"Here, we have a revolutionary technology that doesn't have any moving parts and uses direct emission of terahertz radiation from semiconductor chips," said Gerard Wysocki, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University and one of the leaders of the research team.

Terahertz radiation can penetrate substances such as fabrics and plastics, is non-ionizing and therefore safe for medical use, and can be used to view materials difficult to image at other frequencies. The new system, described in a paper published in the June issue of the journal Optica, can quickly probe the identity and arrangement of molecules or expose structural damage to materials.

The device uses stable beams of radiation at precise frequencies. The setup is called a frequency comb because it contains multiple "teeth" that each emit a different, well-defined frequency of radiation. The radiation interacts with molecules in the sample material. A dual-comb structure allows the instrument to efficiently measure the reflected radiation. Unique patterns, or spectral signatures, in the reflected radiation allow researchers to identify the molecular makeup of the sample.

While current terahertz imaging technologies are expensive to produce and cumbersome to operate, the new system is based on a semiconductor design that costs less and can generate many images per second. This speed could make it useful for real-time quality control of pharmaceutical tablets on a production line and other fast-paced uses.

"Imagine that every 100 microseconds a tablet is passing by, and you can check if it has a consistent structure and there's enough of every ingredient you expect," said Wysocki.

As a proof of concept, the researchers created a tablet with three zones containing common inert ingredients in pharmaceuticals -- forms of glucose, lactose and histidine. The terahertz imaging system identified each ingredient and revealed the boundaries between them, as well as a few spots where one chemical had spilled over into a different zone. This type of "hot spot" represents a frequent problem in pharmaceutical production that occurs when the active ingredient is not properly mixed into a tablet.

The team also demonstrated the system's resolution by using it to image a U.S. quarter. Fine details like the eagle's wing feathers, as small as one-fifth of a millimeter wide, were clearly visible.

While the technology makes the industrial and medical use of terahertz imaging more feasible than before, it still requires cooling to a low temperature, a major hurdle for practical applications. Many researchers are now working on lasers that will potentially operate at room temperature. The Princeton team said its dual-comb hyperspectral imaging technique will work well with these new room-temperature laser sources, which could then open many more uses.

Because it is non-ionizing, terahertz radiation is safe for patients and could potentially be used as a diagnostic tool for skin cancer. In addition, the technology's ability to image metal could be applied to test airplane wings for damage after being struck by an object in flight.

In addition to Wysocki, the paper's Princeton authors are former visiting graduate student Lukasz Sterczewski (currently a postdoctoral scholar at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and associate research scholar Jonas Westberg. Other co-authors are Yang Yang, David Burghoff and Qing Hu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and John Reno of Sandia National Laboratories. Support for the research was provided in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Molly Sharlach

Copyright © Princeton University, Engineering School

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

RIT to upgrade Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory through $1 million state grant: Upgrades to clean room will enhance university’s research capabilities in photonics, quantum technologies and smart systems August 16th, 2019

Imaging

uSEE breakthrough unlocks the nanoscale world on standard biology lab equipment August 16th, 2019

Limitation exposed in promising quantum computing material: Metallic surfaces no longer protected as topological insulators become thinner July 19th, 2019

Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time July 15th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

uSEE breakthrough unlocks the nanoscale world on standard biology lab equipment August 16th, 2019

Possible Futures

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Nanomedicine

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Optofluidic chip with nanopore 'smart gate' developed for single molecule analysis: Programmable device enables on-demand delivery of individual biomolecules with feedback-controlled gating for high-throughput analysis August 16th, 2019

Discoveries

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Announcements

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Cyborg heart could help scientists better understand the human organ August 21st, 2019

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Tools

uSEE breakthrough unlocks the nanoscale world on standard biology lab equipment August 16th, 2019

Cellulose nanofibers to improve the sensitivity of lateral flow tests August 7th, 2019

How to trick electrons to see the hidden face of crystals: Researchers try a trick for complete 3D analysis of submicron crystals August 3rd, 2019

Nanoscribe expands its worldwide presence: Specialist for 3D nano and micro fabrication opens US subsidiary for service and sales July 31st, 2019

Military

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Damaged hearts rewired with nanotube fibers: Texas Heart doctors confirm Rice-made, conductive carbon threads are electrical bridges August 14th, 2019

You're not so tough, h-BN: Rice University chemists find new path to make strong 2D material better for applications August 14th, 2019

Sharp meets flat in tunable 2D material: Rice's new atom-flat compounds show promise for optoelectronics, advanced computing August 12th, 2019

Research partnerships

Research brief: A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials August 20th, 2019

A first for cancer research’: New approach to study tumors August 20th, 2019

Optofluidic chip with nanopore 'smart gate' developed for single molecule analysis: Programmable device enables on-demand delivery of individual biomolecules with feedback-controlled gating for high-throughput analysis August 16th, 2019

Damaged hearts rewired with nanotube fibers: Texas Heart doctors confirm Rice-made, conductive carbon threads are electrical bridges August 14th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project