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Over the past few years THz radiation sources have become more available commercially, and therefore modern technology is exploiting the unique properties of THz waves.
Terahertz wavelength radiation or T-rays refer to electromagnetic <OR> T-rays are electromagnetic waves propagating at frequencies between low-frequency far infra red radiation and high-frequency microwaves, 3•1011 Hz to 3•1012 Hz. Radiation in this band is unique because it combines useful properties of both radio waves and infra-red waves.
Similar to infra-red radiation, T-rays have small enough wavelengths to produce high resolution images when detected in two or three dimensions after being reflected or transmitted through a target. Similar to radio waves, Terahertz wavelength radiation can penetrate through many substances which are opaque to light radiation, these substances include: synthetics, paper, cardboard, textiles, wood, plastic, ceramics and more. This property enables imaging of objects that are covered or hidden under these materials. Many applications make use of this property.
For example, THz wavelength radiation sources are currently being used for security at airports to detect weapons or drugs concealed by passengers or hidden in packages. Materials which absorb T-rays include: water, narcotics, explosives, bio-molecules, and proteins – a list of substances which could be dangerous and should be detected by security inspections. T-rays, differently than X-rays, are considered safe for human beings. With their extremely low photon energy there is no known danger of cell damage on an examined passenger.
Terahertz wavelength radiation may also be used to analyze the inner structure of materials, medicine, or food due to the unique spectral signature of various compounds in the THz spectral region. There are many more potential THz applications currently being developed around the world.
Scientists and engineers around the world can use Ophir laser measurement devices for research and development of THz applications. Ophir offer a special power/ energy sensor to measure THz radiation, the 3A-P-THz. This is the only power/energy sensor to have been calibrated to in the THz region at the PTB national metrology institute in Germany. It has several advantages over similar competing devices: It can read 30 times more power, its aperture is larger, and it has a flatter spectral response than competing THz sensors. “Existing THz detectors provide a limited range of capabilities,” stated Ephraim Greenfield, CTO, Photonics Group, Ophir-Spiricon. “The 3A-P-THz is the first to provide high power readings that are 30 times the level of existing sensors. It is also the first to provide traceable calibration that ensures high accuracy and reliability when measuring THz sources.”
Ophir also offers an excellent tool for profiling THz laser beams. Spiricon’s PyrocamTM III has a very large spectral range; it absorbs all wavelengths including 1μm to over 3000 μm (0.1THz to 300THz). The PyrocamTM sensitivity is relatively low for THz radiation, with a noise level of about 0.3mW/cm2. Thus beams with a power density of 30mW/cm2 or more should be easily measurable. In addition, with Spiricons patented ultracal baseline setting, multiple frames can be summed to “pull” a signal out of the noise. Summing 256 frames enables viewing of beams as low as 1-2 mW/cm^2.
The 3-A-THz and the Pyrocam together form a complete set of measurement tools for a THz application.
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