Scientists working towards Terahertz handheld devices

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

The Gigahertz as we knew it may be long gone, but there are still scientists researching the possibility of handheld devices that work at 1 THz and won’t burn your hands. Edmund Linfield and Giles Davies from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Leeds said that a collaboration with Harvard University has brought them closer to that goal.

Linfield claims that his team has created the highest operating temperature for a terahertz quantum cascade laser. That may sound strange, but makes sense if you consider the fact that these lasers only work at temperatures of minus 100° Celsius. A room-temperature laser is still science fiction, but the scientists said they have found a way to increase “the laser’s operating temperature by nearly ten degrees”.

“The potential uses for terahertz technology are huge, but at the moment they are limited to niche applications in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry and astronomy, as the current systems on the market are expensive and physically quite large. The availability of cheap, compact systems would open up a wide range of opportunities in fields including industrial process monitoring, atmospheric science, and medicine,” Linfield said.