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Terahertz lenses change our view of the world?

by • May 2, 2016 • No Comments

Northwestern Engineering has harnessed the power of 3D printing to turn it into a new kind of lens that works with terahertz waves.

It is a form of electromagnetic radiation that sits between infrared light and microwaves in what is conveniently known as the terahertz gap. It shares a number of properties with both of them.

Untapped next abounds in the spectrum

There’s apparently a excellent deal of untapped next in this spectrum. Technically, if we can exploit terahertz innovation and so we may have advantageous imaging. That is only the begin.

Most modern lenses have a number of elements, or at very least a number of components inside every lens, to compensate for inherent problems. Expensive lenses for Single Lens Reflex cameras, for instance, frequently have a number of lenses in one barrel to complete their stellar outcomes. This adds to the complexity, cost and weight of the lens, that is obviously dwarfed by modern telescopes.

An index shift

Current lenses rely on exact curvature and refractive index, while the new lenses use a gradient index. This means that one lens can take the place of several and they do not need any level of correction. This may alter photography forever, but in addition has a number of other applications.

Terahertz lenses can be utilized in security scanners to detect concealed weapons and actually plastics and chemicals. Terahertz radiation, in addition known as submillimetre radiation, is in addition completely harmless, so it is much safer than an X-ray. Inevitably that means the lens has medical uses.

So it is quite innovation that may have a worthwhile impact on all of our lives.

3D printing has opened up a new spectrum

But why, and so, are we only hearing of these lenses now? Well the discovery of a metamaterial that has no eager equivalent in the effortless world is one reason. It is created up of structures that are more compact than the terahertz wavelength.

This has allowed the team of scientists led by Dr Cheng Sun to experiment with the next of the wavelength and actually harness it for the initially time with a regulated gradient index that just wasn’t possible with traditional materials.

Dr ChengSun.jpg

3D printing plays a part in this as well. Now the industry has got past the issues synonymous with lens production, that did hamper its progress for a few time, it now affords the manufacturers a vast amount of control they just didn’t have preceding.

Projection micro-stereolithography is the technical term for the printing process employed to devastating effect in these lenses. This allowed researchers to turn it into the highly specialised lenses that can handle the frequencies of terahertz waves.

The great news is that it is a production process that is scalable. So weight production of a product we just mayn’t dream of preceding is now a question of when, not if.

The complex work begins now

The National Science Foundation supported the research that was published on April 22nd. There’s a few high end Physics at work here, but the end outcome may be a completely new kind of lens process for all things of our mobile phones to hospital scanners.

3D printing has once again opened doors that left traditional making techniques firmly out in the cold. Only now can we truly begin to experiment and know the next of terahertz radiation, so we can’t tell you what the next holds.

We can say, yet, that the scientific community is seriously excited. Perhaps we should be too.


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