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New Laser Opens Up Large, Underused Region of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

20 Nov 2019, 09:07 UTC
New Laser Opens Up Large, Underused Region of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
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The terahertz frequency range - which sits in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light -- offers the potential for high-bandwidth communications, ultrahigh-resolution imaging, precise long-range sensing for radio astronomy, and much more.But this section of the electromagnetic spectrum has remained out of reach for most applications. That is because current sources of terahertz frequencies are bulky, inefficient, have limited tuning or have to operate at low temperature.Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with MIT and the U.S. Army, have developed a compact, room temperature, widely tunable terahertz laser."This laser outperforms any existing laser source in this spectral region and opens it up, for the first time, to a broad range of applications in science and technology," said Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS and co-senior author of the paper."There are many needs for a source like this laser, things like short range, high bandwidth wireless communications, very high-resolution radar, and spectroscopy," said Henry Everitt, Senior Technologist with the U.S. Army CCDC Aviation & Missile Center and co-senior author of ...

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