Coming soon: 'X-ray' cameras to look through objects - even clothes

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Washington, May 21 (ANI): A team of scientists have come up with a new class of man made materials that can be used to create x-ray cameras to look through walls, and even clothes.

These substances, called metamaterials, could harness terahertz radiation, light with energies between infrared waves and microwaves. Terahertz waves are essentially low-level heat created by the movement of molecules.

"Terahertz can do things like see through cardboard, styrofoam, or clothes, which is unique compared to infrared, visible, or microwave," Live Science quoted researcher Richard Averitt as saying.

When stimulated by terahertz radiation, many molecules absorb and re-emit the energy in specific ways, creating a spectral fingerprint that researchers can use to identify them.

A library of distinct spectral signatures for water, explosives, and compounds such as cocaine and saccharine is already in development and will someday be used to identify substances, he added.

They will be a path-breaking find for medicine, because they can detect tumors and vibrating proteins without the destructive, ionizing effects of x-rays.

Recently impossible to detect, Averitt and his team made some headway in manipulating t-waves with metamaterials, substances that through their fine structure bend light in ways not possible in nature.

"If you can detect that bending from another way, then you have a detector," Averitt said.

"The idea is that you can manipulate your terahertz beam by reorienting the metamaterial elements as opposed to reorienting your beam," he added.

The scientists presented their research at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser happening this week in San Francisco, Calif. (ANI)

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