Imagine a technology that could allow us to see through opaque surfaces without exposure to harmful x-rays, that could give us the ability to detect harmful chemicals and bio-agents from a safe distance, and that could enable us to peer so deeply into space that scientists could better understand the formation of the universe.
All of these scenarios are possible with terahertz radiation, electromagnetic waves with lengths that fall between microwaves and infrared light. However, the potential of terahertz waves has yet to be reached because they are difficult to generate and manipulate. Current terahertz sources are large, multi-component systems that require complex vacuum electronics, external pump lasers, or cryogenic cooling. It’s an expensive and cumbersome process.
Manijeh Razeghi and her team are the first to produce terahertz radiation in a simplified system, making it easier to harness the power of these elusive waves. They have developed the first room-temperature, compact, continuous terahertz radiation source, and it’s six times more efficient than previous systems.