Terahertz imagers can see through clothing and inside suitcases to spot weapons without the danger associated with traditional x-rays. They will also aid in navigation by pentrating storm or dust-cloud conditions, as well as enable enormous amounts of data to be transferred over secure line-of-sight connections. Look for silicon-based terahertz imaging chips by 2011. R.C.J.
Silicon-germanium (SiGe) RF chips now in lab prototype form could one day be used in millimeter-wavelength W-band imaging devices sensitive enough to "see" through clothing to reveal concealed weapons. EEs from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) presented their design at the IEEE RFIC Symposium in Boston on June 9. The chip operates in the terahertz range (1 THz = 1,000 GHz) to provide X-ray-like vision, but using safe, naturally occurring millimeter wavelengths. The designers said the chip could be produced using inexpensive silicon processing techniques.