Feeds

Groovy wires could detect disease and explosives

Handy

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.