Terahertz-controlling device is built

December 4, 2006

U.S. government scientists say they've built a device that can manipulate terahertz radiation, perhaps leading to new imaging and communications devices.

The terahertz, or THz, range of the frequency spectrum lies between infrared and microwave wavelengths. Devices generating and detecting THz radiation are in development but techniques to control the waves are lagging.

But Hou-Tong Chen and colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated metamaterials -- objects with properties based on their structure instead of the materials they are composed of -- can be designed to efficiently control THz waves in real time.

The researchers said they have built a device that consists of a semiconductor substrate with an array of gold structures on top. By controlling the voltage that is applied between the substrate and the metamaterial, the team can modulate the transmitted intensity up to 50 percent.

They said their demonstration exceeds the performance of existing electrical THz modulators and it's hoped the efficiency will be improved further by optimizing the device.

The experiment is detailed in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Laser ablation boosts terahertz emission

Related Stories

Laser ablation boosts terahertz emission

September 17, 2015

From almost instantaneous wireless transfer of huge amounts of data and easy detection of explosives, weapons, or harmful gases, to safe 3-D medical imaging and new advances in spectroscopy —technologies based on terahertz ...

Recommended for you

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...

Iron-gallium alloy shows promise as a power-generation device

September 29, 2015

An alloy first made nearly two decades ago by the U. S. Navy could provide an efficient new way to produce electricity. The material, dubbed Galfenol, consists of iron doped with the metal gallium. In new experiments, researchers ...

Invisibility cloak might enhance efficiency of solar cells

September 30, 2015

Success of the energy turnaround will depend decisively on the extended use of renewable energy sources. However, their efficiency partly is much smaller than that of conventional energy sources. The efficiency of commercially ...

Extending a battery's lifetime with heat

October 1, 2015

Don't go sticking your electronic devices in a toaster oven just yet, but for a longer-lasting battery, you might someday heat them up when not in use. Over time, the electrodes inside a rechargeable battery cell can grow ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.