Thursday, April 23, 2015
Chinese researchers 3D print Terahertz lens
While industrial 3D printing is moving forward with leaps and bounds in fields such as aerospace aviation (just look at these 3D printed engine parts), one team of Chinese scientists is instead moving into the almost invisible field of Terahertz Photonics. That team from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China have recently propsed that 3D printing technology is perfect for quickly making the very precise Terahertz devices, and have even successfully produced a Terahertz lens using photosensitive resin and 3D printer.
Now for those of you who’ve never heard of the term before, terahertz technology revolves around a specific type of radiation or wavelengths. In recent years it has been very successfully transformed into a detection technology using powerful spectroscopic imaging techniques. It has, for instance, been widely used in security inspection, nondestructive testing, communication, and specific military applications such as detecting poison gas clouds, bombs and concealed weapons. Terahertz optics research work has therefore become increasingly important, but largely held back by its complex and time consuming production methods.
But it looks like 3D printing is about to change all of that. Test results showed that the 3D printed terahertz lens by this team from Huazhong University is able to effectively focus Terahertz waves. The researcher used Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy to measure the printed material and found that the refractive index of the material in the terahertz band is stable and has very low absorption rate. Experts have responded by saying that this shows that 3d printing technique is a fast and low-cost option for the production of terahertz lenses.
‘3D printing is a fast-developing new technology, that makes it possible for the production of complex Terahertz optics.’ said Professor Liu Jinsong of the research team. Researchers further said that they will explore more options of 3D printing technology in the manufacturing of lenses, including the Fresnel lens, lens arrays and other complex devices. It’s potential for Terahertz Imaging and other fields will also be studied further.