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T-ray Source Schematic  (Source: Argonne National Laboratory)
T-rays could improve medical diagnostics and airport security

Anyone who has flown on a commercial aircraft since 9/11 knows that the new security mechanisms that intend to keep us safe can be annoying as well. Few will argue that having to take off half your clothes just to get on an airplane might be considered excessive and time-consuming.

Earlier this month U.S. authorities participating in a TSA audit were able to smuggle components through checkpoints at major airports in the United States, even with alerted security measures. 

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new source of so-called T-rays that could lead to a totally new method of detecting weapons in airports as well as new medical diagnostic devices that don’t harm cells and work better than current devices.

T-rays, or terahertz rays, function similarly to x-rays or any other electromagnetic radiation. However, whereas x-rays radiate at frequencies above the visible light spectrum, t-rays operate just below it. High-frequency t-rays is actually low-frequency infra-red radiation. 

T-ray devices can penetrate leather, fabric, cardboard and paper but can’t penetrate metals or water. T-rays can also penetrate the human body by about half a centimeter making it appropriate for diagnosing medical problems.  Most technology in airports today use some form of x-ray technology instead, which can be harmful to passengers if used incorrectly. 

The lead scientist on the project, Ulrich Welp of the Argonne Materials Science Division and his team of international researchers have been able to produce t-rays using superconducting crystals grown at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

The crystals are arranged into what’s called Josephson junctions, which exhibit special properties when electrical voltage is applied. Voltage applied to the crystals causes an alternating current to flow back and forth across the junctions at a frequency proportional to the voltage. Researchers found that tiny voltages of around two millivolts per junction could produce frequencies in the terahertz range.

The trick to producing t-rays is to get the around 1,000 stacked Josephson junctions to oscillate at the same frequency. Welp said, “That's been the challenge all along. If one junction oscillates up while another junction oscillates down, they'll cancel each other out and you won't get anything.”

The researchers were able to achieve the same oscillation frequency of the junctions by shaping the superconducting crystals into resonant cavities. Currently the researchers are able to generate t-rays in the 0.4 to 0.85 terahertz range with a signal power of up to 0.5 microwatts.

Welp says, “The more power you have, the easier it is to adopt this technology for all sorts of applications. Our data indicate that the power stored in the resonant cavities is significantly larger than the detected values, though we need to improve the extraction efficiency. If we can get the signal strength up to 1 milliwatt, it will be a great success."

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RE: Surprise, surprise
By mdogs444 on 11/28/2007 9:24:56 PM , Rating: 5
Are you endorsing racism with comments like that? I just don't understand where you're coming from...

No absolutely not. In fact, my best freinds are Indian (not native indian), and I also have very good friends who are chinese, japanese, russian, black, etc.

I dont think anyone, including myself, are condoning racism just for the fact of being a racist. But targeting an ethnic group as a means of national security in my book is not racial profiling. Targeting a black person driving a nice car because it doesnt seem right that its his car just proves that the officer is ignorant to the fact that someone of another race is successful.

Lets be honest here, the issues of race have always been an issue going back to the days of kane & abel. Its not going away anytime soon, whether we like it or not. And its the democratic leaders that are forcing this racial acceptance upon everyone in the US, and using media outlets to do, and it is becoming distasteful to people here.

For example, I have no issues with anyone of mexican heritage. I do however have an issue with mexicans who are here illegally, and many of them are taking advantage of our tax dollars. When I look at a mexican person speaking spanish and thinking to myself, I wonder if this person is here illegally, does that make me a racist? No. Is that racial profiling? Perhaps, but its my right to raise that question. Could it be considered a valid question out of sake for national security? Absolutely.

So does racial profiling to target mexicans to find out if they are here illegally make anyone a racist? No.

But on the other hand, does Nancy Pelosi's bill to not allow american business owners to require their employees to speak english make those business owners racist? no. it means that english is the native language of america, and to maximize profits, business owners reserve the right to only hire people who can properly communicate with their target audience. Seems to me, that more and more, the liberal left of america are being more racist against their citizens than they are illegals.

But to answer your question, no I'm not racist at all. But I believe our country reserves the right to target anyone or any race they want, in order to find out who they are, why they are here, what they are planning on doing here. Not just for future security purposes, but the current ones as well.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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