Handheld terahertz device moves a step closer to reality

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Washington, March 30 : A collaboration between researchers rom the Universities of Leeds and Harvard has brought a handheld erahertz device a step closer to reality.

As part of the collaboration, the Leeds team, led by Professors dmund Linfield and Giles Davies, has recorded the highest perating temperature for a terahertz quantum cascade laser - a echnology that scientists believe may unlock the potential of he terahertz frequency range.

The key to exploiting terahertz technology is the production of andheld devices, and one specific type of laser - the quantum ascade laser - will allow the creation of a terahertz device hat is small and portable.

According to Professor Linfield, "The potential uses for erahertz technology are huge, but at the moment, they are imited to niche applications in, for example, the pharmaceutical ndustry and astronomy, as the current systems on the market are xpensive and physically quite large."

"The availability of cheap, compact systems would open up a wide ange of opportunities in fields including industrial process onitoring, atmospheric science, and medicine," he explained.

Terahertz quantum cascade lasers are created by building layers f compounds of aluminium, gallium and arsenic, one atomic onolayer at a time, through a process known as molecular beam pitaxy.

But the only problem is that at the moment, this type of laser ill only function at temperatures of minus 1000C.

So the challenge is to create a terahertz quantum cascade laser hat will work at room temperature.

While the groups from Leeds and Harvard are still a way off from his, they have succeeded in increasing the laser's operating emperature by nearly ten degrees, and believe they have the eans to improve it yet further.

"We hope to obtain further advances by optimising the methods we sed to create the device," explains Professor Linfield.

"We have some radically new design ideas, and also believe that e can make significant improvements in the way we fabricate the asers," he added.

The equipment and expert use of it by Professor Linfield and his eam enabled them to create a device of superior quality. They ow believe that they can bring handheld terahertz technology a tep closer still.

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