Monday, July 02, 2012

#SECURITY: "Cheap Handheld Terahertz Scanners on Horizon"

Today the terahertz full-body scanners at airports are big, heavy and expensive, relegating their use to applications with plenty of space and funding. However, if inexpensive CMOS chip-sized terahertz emitters and detectors can be perfected then the size and price of terahertz scanners can be brought down. The result would be cheap handheld scanners that would virtually obsolete X-rays for dentistry, medical and any other applications where people are involved, since terahertz rays do the same job but are safer than X-rays: R. Colin Johnson

The world's first phase-locked loop for a CMOS terahertz emitter harnesses 45-nm process with on-chip antenna.

Here is what EETimes says about cheap handheld terahertz scanners: Millimeter wavelength alternatives to traditional X-rays are already using terahertz-range frequencies to safely scan passengers, luggage and cargo at airports, albeit using bulky discrete devices. Silicon-based terahertz range emitters and detectors could downsize millimeter wave devices for a wide variety of applications beyond airport security, including safer medical imaging along with industrial and environmental applications aimed at detecting hazardous substances.

Earlier this year, Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC, Research Triangle, N.C.) sponsored research demonstrating a CMOS detector operating in the terahertz range. Now, Texas Instrument's has demonstrated a companion terahertz-range emitter created in cooperation with the SRC-sponsored Texas Analog Center of Excellence at the University of Texas at Dallas. TI's terahertz-range emitter uses a phase-locked loop (PLL) to stabilize its frequency, a necessity for making millimeter wavelength systems in CMOS commercially feasible.
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