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|NDT.net Issue - 2007-11 - NEWS |
|- Universities, national laboratories, and the commercial sector (both national and international businesses) continue to increase investment in terahertz technologies for security, medical, nondestructive inspection, and manufacturing quality-control applications.
- There are currently about 30 companies globally devoted to commercializing terahertz technologies. The technology base for terahertz security screening is expanding rapidly internationally, yet there is insufficient technology available to develop complete high-end systems capable of, for example, effectively identifying concealed explosives.
- Terahertz technology in security portal applications has been demonstrated for detecting and identifying objects concealed on people and is a leading area of development and commercialization. Airports using or in the process of conducting trials with THz detection technology are Schiphol (Amsterdam), Mexico City, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Chiang Mai (Thailand), and Madrid (Spain), and the technology is under consideration in the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Russia, and Singapore.
- From a commercialization standpoint, the fundamental hardware to build a commercial wireless THz communication system does not exist today. We are far from having room-temperature THz emitters or THz receivers that cost just a few dollars and are the size of a coin. Developing the technology for a short-range THz communication system will be challenging and represents a multidisciplinary and long-term task.
- The market opportunity for counterfeit prevention technologies enabled by THz is growing, particularly in drugs/pharmaceuticals, defect detection in semiconductor manufacturing, and other high-value areas. However, given the current global security climate, the fastest growing area for THz non-destructive testing is likely to be baggage screening.
- The development of environmental sensing systems utilizing THz technology is still in its earliest phase. Since THz radiation is highly absorbed by water, utilizing this technology for atmospheric applications may be limited.
- Currently, billions of dollars are being invested worldwide on remote sensing terahertz astrophysics and atmospheric missions (though the actual cost of the THz components within these missions is very small). In many cases the basic laboratory data required to interpret the observations from these missions is unavailable, incomplete, or unreliable. There will be an urgent need over the next decade for high quality terahertz laboratory spectroscopy on molecules of atmospheric and astrophysical importance.
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Fuji-Keizai USA, Inc., June 2007, Pages: 118