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Terahertz Superchips Can Do It All

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Ehsan Afshari

Cornell professor Ehsan Afshari

Cornell University

Cornell University researchers have developed terahertz radiation microchips that could be used in a wide range of medical and scientific applications, including cancer detection, tooth decay, and food inspection. The researchers, led by professor Ehsan Afshari, generated signals in the lower end of the terahertz range on a microchip that is 10,000 times more powerful than conventional technologies.

"Nobody can break our record because we have a method that can look at any given process and come up with a topology that can guarantee the maximum power and frequency," Afshari says. He says solid-state terahertz devices could include handheld medical scanners and portable weapons scanners for the military. The researchers were able to create CMOS oscillators operating at up to 480 GHz, compared to the old record of 410 GHz. The system is a very low power signal, similar to Bluetooth devices. Afshari says the next developmental step will be to collaborate with researchers familiar with gallium nitride, which can operate at much higher frequencies and with power levels as much as 2,000 times more than can be accommodated by silicon.

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