that can ‘see’ anthrax inside
envelopes or explosives in luggage by recognising
the distinctive shape of their molecules will
be developed by researchers in the newly-built
terahertz lab at Leeds.
is the largest lab of its kind in the UK,
which leads the world in this area. The lab
will pioneer research into the unexplored
terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum,
where radiation produced by many molecular
radiation can identify – or ‘fingerprint’
– substances by detecting the unique
way their molecules vibrate and rotate.
of the research team, Professor Giles Davies
(above) of electronic and electrical
engineering, said terahertz technology would
open up whole new possibilities for detection
and have applications in the identification
of diseases, in security scanning and even
terahertz region has steadfastly resisted
the advances of scientists because the devices
used above and below these frequencies operate
in completely different ways. Now we have
technologies we can use to explore the terahertz
region of the spectrum,” said Professor
the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz frequencies
sit in an area which neither optical nor electronic
techniques have been able to explore –
between microwaves, used for mobile phone
communication, and infra-red.
terahertz lab will use so-called ‘broadband
source’ and ‘quantum cascade laser’
technologies to explore the terahertz band,
investigating how to recognise the molecules
in different materials and how terahertz frequencies
interact with matter.
lab is being funded by the Wolfson equipment
fund and SRIF round II.