Handheld terahertz scanners could soon be sniffing for drugs and explosives, transmitting super-high-speed data, and looking inside your body, based on a new nanoscale T-ray device developed by researchers in the UK and Singapore. The new device can produce a much stronger beam of terahertz radiation than was previously thought possible, and at room temperature to boot.
If Superman saw in terahertz radiation, he could do more than just peer through clothes and the human body. The Man of Steel might also be able to identify the chemical difference between a benign powder or an explosive tucked away inside a vial within a suitcase -- assuming that he could somehow tune his vision.
No worries, because an MIT electrical engineer and colleagues have managed to tune a small but powerful laser capable of generating terahertz rays. That could someday lead to airport scanners capable of even better snooping than superheroes.