Photonics Dictionary


Terahertz (THz) refers to a unit of frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum, denoting waves with frequencies between 0.1 and 10 terahertz. One terahertz is equivalent to one trillion hertz, or cycles per second. The terahertz frequency range falls between the microwave and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Key points about terahertz include:

Frequency range: The terahertz range spans from approximately 0.1 terahertz (100 gigahertz) to 10 terahertz. This corresponds to wavelengths ranging from 30 micrometers to 3 millimeters.

Applications: Terahertz radiation has diverse applications in scientific research, imaging, and technology. It is often used in spectroscopy for studying molecular vibrations and rotations. Terahertz imaging is employed in medical imaging, security screening, and materials characterization.

Terahertz waves and imaging: Terahertz waves have the ability to penetrate many materials without the ionizing effects associated with X-rays. This makes terahertz imaging suitable for non-destructive testing and imaging of biological tissues, pharmaceuticals, and concealed objects.

Communication: Terahertz frequencies have the potential for high-bandwidth communication, offering the possibility of faster wireless communication and data transfer.

Spectroscopy: Terahertz spectroscopy is used to study the interactions between terahertz radiation and matter. It provides valuable information about the vibrational and rotational modes of molecules.

Terahertz technology: Developing practical terahertz devices and technology poses challenges due to the nature of terahertz waves, including absorption by atmospheric water vapor. Advances in terahertz sources, detectors, and components are areas of active research.

The terahertz region is often referred to as the "terahertz gap" because, for a long time, generating, detecting, and manipulating terahertz waves posed technological challenges. In recent years, there has been increased interest and progress in terahertz technology, opening up new possibilities for a range of applications across various scientific and industrial fields.

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