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Nano-Scale Terahertz Antenna May Make Tricorders Real 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-future dept.
MrSeb writes "Researchers from Imperial College London and A*STAR in Singapore have shown off a terahertz antenna that's just 100 nanometers across — about 30,000 times smaller than existing terahertz antennae — and two orders of magnitude stronger than other T-ray beam-forming techniques. T-rays are a lot like EHF (extremely high frequency), which is used by millimeter wave scanners in airports, medical imaging, and emerging wireless networking standards like WiGig — but stronger, faster, and more detailed. Where EHF radiation can see through your clothes, T-rays can penetrate a few millimeters of skin. Furthermore, because atoms and molecules have a unique terahertz-range signature, T-ray scanners can detect toxic substances, bombs, drugs — or even cancerous tumors under your skin. Most importantly, though, due to the nano scale of these antennae, it's possible to create huge antennae arrays on a single silicon chip, meaning hand-held T-ray scanners are now a possibility. In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of detecting cancer or other diseases."
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Nano-Scale Terahertz Antenna May Make Tricorders Real

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  • by NEDHead (1651195) on Monday January 23, 2012 @11:13AM (#38791603)

    Why are you wearing clothes?

  • by radtea (464814) on Monday January 23, 2012 @11:23AM (#38791725)

    "In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of giving you cancer or other diseases."

    That's the misinformation the medical establishment would like promulgated, so thanks for getting a jump on it.

    It's really important that technology like this be seen as "potentially dangerous" so it's use can be restricted to highly paid professionals whose business model requires such legal limitations "for your own safety."

    There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2012 @12:09PM (#38792293)

    There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

    Nope. I can use my ultrasound unit on anybody I want, I just can't offer an interpretation/diagnoses. That would be practicing medicine.

  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Monday January 23, 2012 @12:21PM (#38792463)

    There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

    The risk of some untrained people using diagnostic ultrasound is that they may tell someone with cancer that they don't see anything to worry about.

  • by squizzar (1031726) on Monday January 23, 2012 @12:24PM (#38792519)

    Surely some of that protectionism is in the public interest, since those trained, insured, professionals actually know what they are looking at (and when they get it wrong they have liability insurance). Look at all the wonky alternative medicine that's already out there and tell me you want to create an industry of people with legitimate diagnostic equipment that don't know how to correctly gather or interpret the results from those machines and then using them to diagnose people with all manner of nasty things that they probably don't have.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

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