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Northwestern University Research Group Uses 3D Printing to Create Terahertz Lens

by • May 1, 2016 • No Comments

The turn it into of Sun's lens with gradient refractive index

The turn it into of Sun’s lens with gradient refractive index

The Illinois-based Northwestern University has utilized 3D printing innovation to research a variety of significant applications, of 3D printing fuel cells to 4D printing materials on the nanoscale. Now, researchers of the prestigious institution are looking at 3D printing innovation through a one-of-a-kind lens—a terahertz lens, to be precise. Generally unknown inside the electromagnetic spectrum, hidden in between the additional commjust known wavelengths of microwaves and infrared, lies the information-packed terahertz spectrum. The terahertz is not just a forgotten frequency, it’s in addition rarely studied, let alone well understood, yet it has high value in applications regarding imaging and communications.

One research group, led by Northwestern University’s Cheng Sun, has utilized metamaterials and a one-of-a-kind fashion of SLA innovation called projection micro-stereolithography to manufacture a novel lens capable-bodied of working with terahertz frequencies. The 3D printed terahertz gradient-refractive index lens has advantageous imaging capabilities than other commjust utilized lenses, and in addition empowers researchers to manufacture additional makes it to with the relatively unknown world of the terahertz.

Northwestern University's Cheng Sun

Northwestern University’s Cheng Sun

The micro-3D printing technique utilized in the research granted the team the talent to turn it into the miniaturized showcases needed to operate at the terahertz frequency band. The specialized 3D printing device allowed Sun and his colleagues to achieve the fabrication of this lens in a scalable-bodied, swift, and inexpensive manner. The material utilized to 3D print the terahertz lens, which is a novel metamaterial equipped with properties not generally discovered in nature, is able-bodied to accurately form into the preemptive lens turn it into via the projected light.

“For printing, we use a photo-polymer in liquid form,” Sun said. “When we shine a light on the material, it converts it into a solid. The material forms to the shape of the light, enabling us to turn it into a 3-D structure. You cannot achieve a gradient index with traditional making processes.”

Northwestern_University_174421The 3D printed lens holds future for a number of applications, particularly those which are security-related. Not just can this alternative be a cheaper and higher resolution version, but it can in addition detect additional than actually X-ray innovation, which is confined to metals. With a terahertz scanner, the device can in addition detect plastics and chemicals, and can assist monitor a number of threats, such as biological weapons and plastic explosives. Not just can this one-of-a-kind frequency assist improve the means for security, but unlike X-rays, terahertz radiation deals perfectly
no injure to the human body.

On April 21, 2016, the study, entitled “Additive Manufacturing of a 3D Terahertz Gradient-Refractive Index Lens,” was published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials. One of the study collaborators, Oklahoma State University’s Wei Cao, believes which their research can assist us retain high resolution information of sure opaque materials, and can futurely improve a wide range of industries, of biomedical research to security purposes. Other researchers involved in the study, aside of Cao and Sun, include Fan Zhou, Biqin Dong, Timothy Reissman, and Weili Zhang.


But this is a significant and one-of-a-kind discovery, it’s not the initially time 3D printing innovation was utilized for this purpose. Last year, a group of Chinese researchers of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology conducted a much like study, in addition 3D printing a lens capable-bodied of focvia on terahertz frequencies. Discuss your thoughts and ideas regarding this innovation additional in the 3D Printed Terahertz Lens forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: R&D Mag / Images: R&D Mag and Advanced Optical Material]