Radiation-enabled chips could lead to low-cost security imaging systems

September 12, 2012, Tel Aviv University
Radiation-enabled chips could lead to low-cost security imaging systems

With homeland security on high alert, screening systems to search for concealed weapons are crucial pieces of equipment. But these systems are often prohibitively expensive, putting them out of reach for public spaces such as train and bus stations, stadiums, or malls, where they could be beneficial.

Now Dr. Eran Socher of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering is reconfiguring existing (CMOS) chips designed for computers and turning them into high frequency circuits. The ultimate goal is to produce chips with radiation capabilities, able to see through packaging and clothing to produce an image of what may be hidden underneath.

Currently being developed through a collaboration between teams at TAU and Frankfurt University, the chip could be the basis of sophisticated but affordable and portable able to meet everyday security needs. The research has been published in IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters and will be presented at the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Waves in Australia this September.

Big security benefits on a miniaturized scale

Currently, advanced security technology is massive in size and comes with a massive price tag. Such scanning systems are often developed for selected airports or used by NASA for space exploration, says Dr. Socher. "Our concept is different. For everyday use, needs to be both small and cheap," he explains.

By adding new capabilities to existing CMOS technology, already mass-produced for computers and other mobile devices, the researchers are producing new at an affordable price. The chip, which measures a miniature 0.5 mm by 0.5 mm, newly integrates antennae, giving it the ability to receive and transmit or terahertz radiation. When combined with either mechanical or electronic , the resulting radiation can produce an image.

Unlike X-ray technology which penetrates the body, the chip is designed to see only through materials such envelopes, clothing, or luggage, stopping at the human skin. Because the chip works with radiation levels that are lower than those of a cell phone, it circumvents health concerns. And the chip can also produce a more accurate depiction of concealed objects, an advantage over common metal detectors which aren't very specific or sensitive, says Dr. Socher.

Facilitating high-speed transfers

Another application for the chips, which have a range of only a few meters but operate at high frequencies, is high-speed communications. The data rate can range from 1 to ten gigabytes per second, explains Dr. Socher, so the chip could be used to transfer a file—like an uncompressed high-definition video from a mobile device to a screen or projector—wirelessly and within seconds.

Communications and software companies have already expressed an interest in this , he says, and the researchers have received a grant from the Broadcom Foundation in the US to support and further their research.

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3 / 5 (2) Sep 12, 2012
Hmm, I'm concerned about the long term effects of these devices they seem to be rolling out. Millimeter wave/Terahertz wave technology has already been under scrutiny for not being tested and this was by its inventor. Backscatter technology uses x-rays and those catalyze cancer. Either way we need a better option.
3 / 5 (4) Sep 12, 2012
Naked, hairless pictures of everyone who takes a train or intercity bus or enters a store, secured with the same tech used to keep credit card info so unbelievably safe. Great. Employer can soon use file sharing sites to see if your fat deposits are the type/location which correlate with health threats leading to high absenteeism and health plan drain. Want to get a look at your potential new secretary's tits before making the final decision? No problem. Is the guy who is most vocal about supporting or opposing a union at work not on your side? Have a look at his junk and see if he might be persuaded to shut up if you threatened to reveal his penis size to the office gossip.

Remember, if you're not doing anything wrong you should not want privacy (curtains and blinds are for perverts) for yourself or people who could influence your life.
5 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
"With homeland security on high alert" When the fuck has homo security NOT been on "high alert?" Wouldn't that defeat their mandate?
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2012
I wanna know why my comment got a 1 out of 5. So getting cancer is not as bad as being seen naked? I don't think the privacy is issue is good either but really not damaging my health is my top concern.

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