Rice University Research Could Hasten Use of T-ray Security Scanners

Technology could serve as aid for explosive detection, could be used in airport scanners as well as for cancer screening and more

Mittleman and his student, Kanglin Wang, stumbled upon the idea for the wave guide when they noticed T-waves were moving down a wire during an experiment on a new form of terahertz microscopy. In follow-up experiments, they found they could move T-waves along a bare wire, direct those waves onto a surface, catch the reflected waves on another wire, carry those reflected waves back to a receiver and analyze the return waves to reveal information about the surface the original wave was shined upon.

"There are lots of places where T-waves would be handy but where they're difficult to use today," said Mittleman. "Free-space beams are notoriously temperamental -- a shortcoming that's kept them off of some factory floors -- and our endoscope technology has the potential to change that."