NEw research shows high-frequency terahertz signals can be switched on and off to carry data in the digital code of ones and zeroes, and that it someday may be possible to build superfast switches to carry terahertz data at terahertz speeds. That is 1,000 times faster than gigahertz fiber optic lines that carry data as near-infrared and visible light, and 10,000 times faster than microwaves that carry cordless and cell phone conversations.
No one has built terahertz switches, but Nahata says the new study shows it is possible to use terahertz radiation to carry data and thus may be possible to create terahertz-speed switches for superfast wireless communication over short distances, such as between a cellular phone and headsets, a wireless mouse and a computer, and a PDA (personal digital assistant) and a computer.
University of Utah researchers have shown it is possible to harness far-infrared light — also known as terahertz electromagnetic radiation — for use in superfast wireless communications and to detect concealed explosives and chemical or biological weapons. The researchers shined far-infrared light on metal foils punctured with holes arranged in what are known as quasicrystal and quasicrystal-approximate patterns. Even though the holes make up only a portion of each foil’s surface, almost all the radiation passed through the metal foils with these patterns. This photo shows a quasicrystal pattern. Credit: Tatsunosuke Matsui, University of Utah