New 'Metamaterial' Device May Lead to See-Through Cameras and Scanners



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Lyndsay Meyer
CLEO/QELS
+1.202.416.1435
lmeyer@osa.org

Jason Socrates Bardi
American Institute of Physics
301. 209.3091
jbardi@aip.org

New ‘Metamaterial’ Device May Lead to See-Through Cameras and Scanners

Boston University Team Makes Strides in Detecting and Controlling Terahertz Radiation

WASHINGTON, May 6—Devices that can mimic Superman's X-ray vision and see through clothing, walls or human flesh are the stuff of comic book fantasy, but a group of scientists at Boston University (BU) has taken a step toward making such futuristic devices a reality.

The researchers will present their device at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference (CLEO/QELS: 2010), which takes place May 16 to 21 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

Led by BU's Richard Averitt, the team has developed a new way to detect and control terahertz (THz) radiation using optics and materials science. This type of radiation is made up of electromagnetic waves that can pass through materials safely. Their work may pave the way for safer medical and security scanners, new communication devices, and more sensitive chemical detectors.

Scientists and engineers have long sought devices that could control THz transmissions. Such a device would be a technological breakthrough because it would allow information to be sent via THz waves. Like X-rays, these waves can pass through solid materials, potentially revealing hidden details within. Unlike the ionizing energy of real X-rays, THz radiation causes no damage to materials as it passes through them.

The quest to create devices that emit or manipulate THz radiation is often referred to as a race to fill in the "THz gap," since the frequency of THz radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum falls in between microwave and infrared radiation -- both of which are already broadly used in communication.

This race has often stumbled right out of the blocks, however, because no technologies have proven able to effectively solve the basic problem of manipulating the properties of a beam of THz radiation. Now Averitt and his colleagues have made an important step in this direction by using an unusual class of new materials known as "metamaterials."

Metamaterials are unusual in the way they interact with light, giving them properties that don't exist in natural materials. They have grabbed headlines and captured the popular imagination in recent years after several groups of researchers have used metamaterials to achieve limited forms of "cloaking" -- the ability of a material to completely bend light around itself so as to appear invisible.

Averitt uses these same sorts of metamaterials to interact with and change the intensity of a beam of THz radiation. His device consists of an array of split-ring-resonators -- a checkerboard of flexible metamaterial panels that can bend and tilt. By rotating the panels, his team can control the electromagnetic properties of a beam of THz energy passing by them.

"The idea is that you can manipulate your terahertz beam by reorienting the metamaterial elements as opposed to reorienting your beam," says Averitt.

Arrays of these metamaterial panels could potentially function as pixels on a camera that detects THz radiation, he says. Absorption of THz radiation would cause the panels to tilt more or less depending on the intensity of the THz bombarding them.

"One of the goals, from a technological point of view, is to be able to do stand-off imaging, to be able to detect things beneath a person's clothes or in a package," says Averitt.

Such detection applications, though, would require more powerful THz sources like quantum cascade lasers, which are under development -- though great technological strides have been made in the last few years.

Presentation CtuF3, "Structurally Reconfigurable Metamaterials at Terahertz Frequencies," by Hu Tao and Richard D. Averitt takes place Tuesday, May 18 at 8:30 a.m.

ABOUT CLEO/QELS

With a distinguished history as the industry’s leading event on laser science, the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) / Quantum Electronics Laser Science Conference (QELS) is where laser technology was first introduced. In 2010, CLEO/QELS will unite the field of lasers and electro-optics by bringing together all aspects of laser technology, with content stemming from basic research to industry application. Sponsored by the American Physical Society’s (APS) Laser Science Division, the Institute of Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Photonics Society and the Optical Society (OSA), CLEO/QELS provides a holistic reflection of the critical developments in the field, showcasing the most significant milestones from laboratory to marketplace. With an unparalleled breadth and depth of coverage, CLEO/QELS connects all of the critical vertical markets in lasers and electro-optics. For more information, visit the conference’s website at www.cleoconference.org/.

###


Share:
Keyword
Topics

Guide Star Alliance Team Receives OSA’s 2017 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award

The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce that Guide Star Alliance is the winner of the 2017 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award. Under contract of and in close collaboration with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), industrial partners, TOPTICA Photonics and MPB Communications (MPBC), joined together to develop a high-power CW tunable laser system called the SodiumStar. The team’s development is now considered the quasi-standard for existing and planned telescopes around the world. The Guide Star Alliance will receive the award on 18 September 2017, during Frontiers in Optics (FiO) + Laser Science (LS) in Washington DC, USA.

Added: 18 Aug 2017


New Terahertz Imaging Approach Could Speed Up Skin Cancer Detection

Researchers have developed a new terahertz imaging approach that, for the first time, can acquire micron-scale resolution images while retaining computational approaches designed to speed up image acquisition. This combination could allow terahertz imaging to be useful for detecting early-stage skin cancer without requiring a tissue biopsy from the patient.

Added: 17 Aug 2017


New Tool Aims to Make Surgery Safer by Helping Doctors See Nerves

During operations, it can be difficult for surgeons to avoid severing crucial nerves because they look so much like other tissue. A new noninvasive approach that uses polarized light to make nerves stand out from other tissue could help surgeons avoid accidentally injuring nerves or assist them in identifying nerves in need of repair.

Added: 16 Aug 2017


Relativistic Self-Focusing Gives Mid-IR Driven Electrons a Boost

Conventional particle accelerators can range from large room-sized devices to facilities multiple kilometers across. One of the ways that scientists have looked to reduce the size and expense of future accelerators is by developing laser –driven plasma acceleration. Such accelerators, however, are growing in size and complexity in order to maintain relevance for one of their applications—high energy physics. However, there are many applications that can use a lower energy and higher repetition rate accelerated beam. For the first time, scientists have observed the production of relativistic electrons driven by low-energy, ultrashort mid-infrared laser pulses.

Added: 15 Aug 2017


OSA Laser Congress Plenary to Highlight Ultrafast Laser Systems and Black Hole Detection

The OSA Laser Congress 2017 will feature the latest advancements in solid state laser developments and related technologies for use in free space laser communication, laser-based sensing and numerous industrial applications.

Added: 10 Aug 2017


New Optical Method Pinpoints Weak Spots in Jet Engine Thermal Coatings

Researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that an optical analysis method can reveal weak areas in ceramic thermal barrier coatings that protect jet engine turbines from high temperatures and wear. The technique could be used to predict how long coatings would last on an airplane and might eventually lead to new thermal barrier coatings, making engines more efficient and cutting both the cost and pollution of air travel.

Added: 09 Aug 2017


The Optical Society Congratulates Ed White on Selection as Chair of the NPI

The Optical Society (OSA) commends the selection of Edward White, associate vice president of test, assembly and packaging and corporate outreach for AIM Photonics, as the next National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Steering Committee Chair. White will succeed Alan Willner, the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering University of Southern California and 2016 president of OSA. The National Photonics Initiative is an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, and its impact on society.

Added: 04 Aug 2017


See the World Differently at FIO + LS 2017

Whether you are in an autonomous vehicle looking to avoid collisions with nearby objects, or sitting on Earth and trying to detect collisions of black holes in the furthest galaxies, the Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS (FIO + LS) plenary presentations will detail recent achievements in gravitational wave science and today’s LiDAR applications.

Added: 03 Aug 2017


The Optical Society Foundation Concludes Successful 2017 Innovation School

The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) hosted early-career professionals during its first Innovation School from 23-27 July at OSA headquarters in Washington DC. The four-day program focused on honing ‘intrapreneurial’ skills through a series of interactive ‘ideation and customer validation’ exercises. In addition, the hands-on program was accompanied by presentations led by CEO’s, entrepreneurs and innovation leaders in the optics and photonics industry.

Added: 01 Aug 2017


The Optical Society Creates Optical Design Innovator Award

The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce the creation of the Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award recognizing significant contributions to lens design, optical engineering or metrology by an individual at an early career stage. The inaugural award will be given in 2018.

Added: 26 Jul 2017


Sophisticated Medical Imaging Technique Proves Useful for Automotive Industry

Many of today’s cars are coated with paint that exhibits a metallic or glittery shine. The exact sparkle and color you see is determined by the distribution and characteristics of tiny metal flakes used in the paint. A new approach based on the medical imaging technique optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides the car industry with a practical way to automatically analyze these metal flakes, which until now have been difficult to image, in order to improve the efficiency of the automotive finishing process.

Added: 25 Jul 2017


Optics Leaders Announced as Visionary Speakers for 2017 FIO + LS Meeting

The Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS (FIO + LS) conference and exhibition provides a venue for leaders in the optics and photonics community to discuss the latest advances in the field. In 2017, the FIO + LS meeting has been thoughtfully redesigned and revised, offering attendees the best of past meetings while adding innovative elements to this year’s meeting. A new speaker category of visionary speakers have been added and will deliver presentations around the four conference themes

Added: 20 Jul 2017