Feeds

Groovy wires could detect disease and explosives

Handy

Security for virtualized datacentres

A breakthrough by a group of researchers in the UK and in Spain could pave the way for much improved disease detection, and detection of explosives.

T-Rays, with a frequency in the region of a thousand billion cycles per second, inhabit the part of the electromagnetic spectrum between micro and infrared waves. Many complex molecules have very distinct reactions when probed with radiation of this energy, the researchers say, making T-Rays potentially very useful in detecting explosives and in the quality control of prescribed medication.

However, the current state of the art is such that it is very hard to focus them with mirrors or lenses, meaning they are of little practical use.

What this team of Anglo-Spanish scientists has done is find a way to focus the T-Rays onto a point just millimetres across.

An ordinary wire does not transport T-Rays very well, but engraving a metal wire with a series of tiny grooves, the team found that it was possible to control the flow of the terahertz radiation. By tapering the corrugated wire as well, the researchers were able to focus the rays as well as direct them.

Dr Stefan Maier, of the University of Bath's department of physics, who leads the research, described the technique as a "significant breakthrough".

"Metal wire ordinarily has a limited ability to allow T-Rays to flow along it, but our idea was to overcome this by corrugating its surface with a series of grooves, in effect creating an artificial material or 'metamaterial' as far as the T-rays are concerned.

"In this way, the T-Rays can be focused to the tip of the wire and guided into confined spaces or used to detect small objects, with important implications for disease detection or finding explosives that are hidden."

The team's findings are set out in the current journal Physical Review Letters. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.