Northwestern University researchers have utilized a three dimensional printer in the creation of a terahertz lens. The lens was made from a metamaterial. The properties of the metamaterial are novel because they are not readily available in nature.
Professors created the lens that uses a gradient index and a refractive index that changes over space allowing for the creation of flawless images. The technology doesn’t require any corrective components to provide the image.
Three-dimensional printing techniques, called “projection micro-stereo-lithography” were utilized to manufacture the lens. The projection micro-stereo-lithography allows for the production of scalable, inexpensive and rapid ways to produce the mini features the lens requires in order to operate at the terahertz frequency wavelength.
To print the lens, researchers used a liquid photo-polymer. The light in the printer converted the liquid into a solid and the material formed to the shape of the light beam. It’s been found that terahertz imaging offers valuable information for use in security applications. It can detect chemicals, concealed weapons, anthrax and plastic explosives.
For fabrication, the researchers used a photo-polymer in liquid form. Light converted the liquid into a solid and the material formed to the shape of the light.
As technology continues to advance the ability to produce three dimensional objects from two dimensional projections will increase. The applications are currently being used in defense and aerospace settings. It has been the medical industry that has been clamoring for this technology because producing 3D scans in systems such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasounds and CT scans provides medical professionals access to enhanced treatment methodologies.
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