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Tiny terahertz laser could be used for imaging, chemical detection

Terahertz radiation--the band of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and visible light-- has promising applications in medical and industrial imaging and chemical detection, among other uses. But many of those applications depend on small, power-efficient sources of terahertz rays, and the standard method for producing them involves a bulky, power-hungry, tabletop device. As the best-performing chip-mounted terahertz source yet reported, a group of researchers from three institutions has developed a novel design that boosts the power output of chip-mounted terahertz lasers by 80 percent. The device has been selected by NASA to provide terahertz emission for its Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory mission. The mission is intended to determine the composition of the interstellar medium, or the matter that fills the space between stars.

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