Innovation

T-rays detect more materials more safely than X-rays

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists in Turkey and Japan, have developed a portable scanning device based on terrahertz radiation that detects more materials without the harmful effects of X-rays.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists in Turkey and Japan, have developed a portable scanning device based on terrahertz radiation that detects more materials without the harmful effects of X-rays.

An excerpt from VNUnet:

Unlike more energetic X-rays, T-rays do not have sufficient energy to 'ionize' an atom and cause cellular damage that can lead to radiation sickness or cancer. But T-rays are capable of penetrating many common materials, such as leather, fabric, cardboard and paper.

T-rays can also penetrate the human body by almost half a centimetre, and have already been used by doctors to detect and treat certain types of cancers, especially those of the skin and breast.

T-rays could not be used earlier for scanning purpose because of certain physical limitations of semi-conducting materials. Researchers had to deploy several techniques to generate signals of sufficient signal strength.

The new technology may find application in several areas, including security and cancer detection.

More information:

Terahertz Radiation Could Improve Airport Security, Detect Cancer (Associated Content)

Argonne Bolsters Efforts in Security Research (PR Newswire)

3 comments
Tig2
Tig2

I haven't flown since the TSA decided that my prosthesis can't be taken on an airplane unless I am willing to surrender it to security personnel for inspection. No thanks, I'll drive. It would be nice if the TSA did a couple of things- first, consider and deploy any technology that is an improvement on the current. The equipment that they are using today is really substandard for what they want to accomplish. Second- standardize the rules and enforce the standardized rules. Then we will all learn them. Instead, some things are allowed at one airport, not another. Passengers have no way of knowing what is problematic and what isn't. And I agree- there are some people who should NEVER take their shoes off!

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I really can't stand having to take my shoes off before getting on an airplane these days. I purposely wear crocs or sandals so that it's relatively quick and easy to get through the security check. And let's be painfully honest, there are some people who should be allowed to keep their shoes on, no matter what. The T-ray sounds like a great solution. In fact, it's almost too good to be true. I wonder if some mutant T-ray property will be discovered years down the road, and frequent fliers will end up paying dearly?

Tachyon
Tachyon

I think the damn government needs to mind their own business and stop spying on it's citizens. First of all, happy citizens aren't a threat. Disgruntled ones are. Secondly, they need to do their damn jobs at the right places. Like immigration and border check points and stop hassling it's own citizens in the name of Homeland Security. It's a load of crap, using the terrorism bogey-man as an excuse to commit all kinds of violations of civil liberties. If they want to use T-Rays, then dammit, use them on foreigners entering the country, and on shipping containers at ports of entry. And until they make even a token effort to secure the border with Mexico, then they can piss off as far as searching resident citizens.

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