New terahertz lenses 'could aid biomedical research'

Engineering

Light-powered 3D printing technology has been utilised to create a terahertz lens with a range of potential applications.

Led by Northwestern University, the project utilised metamaterials and 3D printing to develop a novel lens that works with terahertz frequencies, providing better imaging capabilities than common lenses.

“A new technique for creating terahertz lenses using 3D printing technology could open up new possibilities in biomedical research and security imaging.“

Terahertz frequencies exist in the gap between microwaves and infrared, with researchers believing this spectrum carries a large amount of potentially useful information.

The new lens was manufactured with a 3D printing technique called projection micro-stereolithography, offering a scalable, rapid and inexpensive way to produce the tiny features needed for the lens to operate at the terahertz frequency band.

Wei Cao, a collaborator on the project at Oklahoma State University, said: "This advance means we can unveil previously inaccessible information of some opaque materials in high resolution. This opens up an entirely new technique for a massive range of potential uses from biomedical research to security."

Terahertz radiation is completely harmless to humans and, unlike X-rays, can be used to detect plastic and chemicals.

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