Graphene Terahertz Cameras Could Become Common

EU researchers have developed a graphene-enabled detector for terahertz light that is faster and more sensitive than existing room-temperature technologies. This can lead to a fully digital low-cost terahertz camera system. This could be as cheap as the camera inside the smartphone, since such a detector has proven to have a very low power consumption and is fully compatible with CMOS technology.

Detecting terahertz (THz) light is extremely useful for two main reasons. Firstly, THz technology is becoming a key element in applications regarding security (such as airport scanners), wireless data communication, and quality control, to mention just a few. However, current THz detectors have shown strong limitations in terms of simultaneously meeting the requirements for sensitivity, speed, spectral range, being able to operate at room temperature.

Secondly, it is a very safe type of radiation due to its low-energy photons, with more than a hundred times less energy than that of photons in the visible light range.

Nanoletters – Fast and Sensitive Terahertz Detection Using an Antenna-Integrated Graphene pn Junction

SOURCES – Nanoletters, ICFO

11 thoughts on “Graphene Terahertz Cameras Could Become Common”

  1. Well, imaging isn’t as easy an area for the FDA to screw up as say, drug development, because safety, and efficacy is relatively easy to prove. Does the method use ionizing radiation at levels above allowed doses? Does it image the part of the body in question. IMHO, that’s why medical imaging diagnostic techniques have actually improved at much quicker rate than allopathy, or other fields of medicine.
    It’s the classic government regulation/command economy effect. If the government decides to intervene in economic decisions, for instance, what can be written about a “therapy”, and what services or goods can be legally sold, what can be sold will be of lower quality(will not improve as quickly with time), and of higher cost(competing providers can not innovate in terms of delivering services, or manufacturing goods as easily, so prices do not fall as quickly). There will also be many fewer competitors, because government greatly increases the cost of entry to the market.

  2. The solution is obvious.
    If (to be determined) the FDA will not approve a radically cheaper set of medical imaging tech because it disrupts the market… then take your $5k TeraHertz scanner and raise the profit margin by $250k. Now the FDA is happy.

    Once they are on the market (and once you’ve sold as many as you can for $255k, because why not?) then you start to lower the price. Of course you do this as “specials” for politically popular charity cases and the like.

  3. What about the challenge of getting it past the FDA. From what I see, it’s mission is not so much to protect the patient, but to protect the income of the medical industrial complex. The sort of diagnostic test you describe would be much cheaper than existing ones, and most, if not all disease is much easier(cheaper) to treat when caught early, and this will not be lost on the bureaucrats. This sort of diagnosis might even cut down the income from hypochondriacs, who would want their own personal machines.

  4. Given the ability of Thz radiation to probe the interior of the body, I could see cheap Thz imagers leading to the sort of diagnostic machine where you wouldn’t wait until you were symptomatic to get scanned. You’d just stand in front of one on a monthly basis, and software would flag any questionable developments before they got very far.

    I think that’s where we’re headed, home appliances that scan your body in every frequency from Thz to mild UV, coupled with image recognition software that ‘knows’ when it’s looking at something that shouldn’t be there.

    The challenge will be having them designed to work independently, instead of being crippled so that they depend on remote servers inserted in the system for no purpose but to enable data mining and charge you rent on something you already paid for.

  5. Drake’s got a point though. If everyone in the world was sensible, law abiding, and sane there would be no excuses for 99% of the laws and restrictions and so we’d probably have far, far fewer of them.

    As a lawyer told told a doctor I know “If people just used their brains we’d both be out of a job.”

  6. Unless tomorrow the tech begins categorizing persons like YOU as an irrational or inept. How annoying would that be. Rights and freedoms are eroded slowly, and this process can get very far.

  7. Yeah, I imagine that could make some actually interesting addendum to a smartphone.

    Some kind of tricorder device that can get some measurements and chemical composition data remotely.

  8. Is that a bad thing? More tech is the only way to control the excesses of the irrational and the inept.

    People are free within certain limits, no civilization can exist without this limit. The irrational and the inept refuses to grasp this simple fact, whatever rights and freedoms to which they think they are entitled become null and void when exercising it trespasses on the rights and freedoms of another.

  9. I’m fairly sure this is the radiation imaged by the “naked cameras” that got a lot of play a few years ago when DHS employees were caught handing around revealing photos of “hottie” passengers, that management had sworn employees couldn’t possibly get their hands on.

    On a more serious note, coupled with a source of Thz radiation, or maybe used in sunlight, these would likely make a good, cheap spectrometer(for identifying chemical compounds). This would be cool to have on a smartphone. I’d be going around identifying the minerals in every rock I found.

  10. THz technology is becoming a key element in applications regarding security (such as airport scanners)

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