Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and the U.S. Army have created a compact device that is the size of a shoebox and can operate at room temperature to produce a terahertz laser, which can be tuned in a wide range of frequencies,media reported. What’s important about the terahertz ray device the team has made is that it’s only shoebox-sized.
Often, such machines require large, bulky settings and often have to operate at ultra-cold temperatures. The device, made by the researchers, uses off-the-shelf components designed to produce terahertz waves by rotating the molecular energy in nitrous oxide. Terahertz waves aren’t the only thing that’s useful. Terahertz waves can also be used in a form of wireless communication that transmits information at a higher bandwidth than radar.
The equipment the team manufactured uses an infrared light source called a quantum cascade laser or QCL. The laser is the latest development in compact ness and tuning. In the search for gas, the team looked at nitrous oxide, which was pumped into a pen-shaped cavity. The team can create similar systems using other gas molecules, such as carbon monoxide and ammonia, and QCL pairs that match each gas.
All the results confirm the universal concept of terahertz laser sources, which can be widely tuned through rotation when pumped through continuous adjustable QCL, according to researcher Wang Fan. The study was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation.