Terahertz Imaging Spots Microscopic Twists In Tissues

Without using possibly harmful X-rays, researchers have found microscopic twists in the internal structure of plant and animal cells. The method rotates terahertz imaging in real-time and is said to be its first successful application. It may lead to novel cosmology, encrypted communications, and medical imaging uses.

Although terahertz imaging can enter the body for about six millimeters, it is non-ionizing, unlike X-rays, so there is no chance it will induce harmful electrical charges.

The project’s innovation involves terahertz circular dichroism (TCD) spectroscopy, the differential absorption of left- and right-handed circular polarized light, which according to the project, was impractical in the terahertz range until now.

When the ribbon is stretched, the cuts open up, and the ribbon slices twist; the gold lines then guide the radiation, twisting it in turn. Each cut measured 500 microns long and 5 microns in height, and the cuts were spaced with a horizontal period of 600 microns and a vertical period of 105 microns.

The team showed that tunable optical elements fabricated from patterned plasmonic sheets with periodic kirigami cuts make it possible for the polarization modulation of terahertz imaging under the application of mechanical strain and commented that the proliferation of TCD spectroscopy is hindered by the lack of dynamic polarization modulators comparable to polarization optics used for other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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