Terahertz Sensing Technology Remotely Detects Hidden Explosives

Benjamin Clough, doctoral student at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been awarded the 2011 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer student prize.

The $30,000 award was given to Clough for developing an innovative technology, which allows for remote detection of hidden chemicals, explosives and other harmful materials.

Benjamin Clough

Moisture in air is known to weaken terahertz waves and the limited effectiveness makes its application in bomb detection impractical. The cost-effective method devised by Clough uses sound waves to amplify the effectiveness of terahertz spectroscopy from a distance of few feet to quite a few meters.

Clough’s project, titled Terahertz Enhanced Acoustics, involved the use of 2 laser beams, which produces bursts of plasma when focused in air. This in turn creates terahertz pulses. A second pair of lasers focused close to the target produces new plasma capable of detecting terahertz pulses after interaction with the source. A sensitive microphone detects the terahertz wave data present in the acoustic wave produced by the second plasma. The detected audio data upon conversion into digital data can be verified quickly against a library of terahertz fingerprints to find out the unknown material’s chemical composition.

The patent-pending method can be applied in monitoring smokestack emissions, environmental monitoring of atmospheric conditions, detecting land mines or inspecting suspicious packages without potential risk to the user.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Choi, Andy. (2019, February 24). Terahertz Sensing Technology Remotely Detects Hidden Explosives. AZoSensors. Retrieved on July 15, 2024 from https://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=2452.

  • MLA

    Choi, Andy. "Terahertz Sensing Technology Remotely Detects Hidden Explosives". AZoSensors. 15 July 2024. <https://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=2452>.

  • Chicago

    Choi, Andy. "Terahertz Sensing Technology Remotely Detects Hidden Explosives". AZoSensors. https://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=2452. (accessed July 15, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Choi, Andy. 2019. Terahertz Sensing Technology Remotely Detects Hidden Explosives. AZoSensors, viewed 15 July 2024, https://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=2452.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.