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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Astronomical sensors for terrestrial use

QMC adapts astronomical sensors for terrestrial use, 19 April 2011 | By Andrew Czyzewski
"Highly sensitive astronomical sensors are being adapted for commercial, terrestrial uses in security, quality control and medical imaging. The technology, which is being developed by QMC Instruments, was originally used in space telescopes such as Plank and Herschel to peer into the far corners of the universe.
It focuses on terahertz radiation, the far infrared and microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that astronomers use to study the Cosmic Microwave Background and dust clouds where stars are born.
In the past decade or so there has been increasing interest in producing and detecting terahertz radiation from terrestrial sources. Indeed, the latest generation of airport body scanners emit terahertz radiation at a defined frequency, which passes through clothes and to a lesser extent the body, but not metals.
However, the latest technology differs in that it is entirely passive, and is able to detect small amounts of terahertz radiation from endogenous sources such as the human body and certain objects such as explosives — essentially acting like a video camera, viewing the contrast in real time".
QMC adapts astronomical sensors for terrestrial use | News | The Engineer