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Terahertz Radiation Generator Engineered by Russian Physicists
April 14, 2018 18:54


Physicists from the Russian Academy of Sciences have created and tested a T-ray generator capable of destroying metal structures in a way not known to science yet.
The research results are published in the Physical Review Letters journal.
Terahertz radiation is one of the most promising areas of research in the field of optics, microelectronics and other high-tech spheres. In the future, waves of this type can be adapted for ultra-high-speed information transfer, real-time monitoring of live cells and many other purposes.
Mikhail Agranat from the Joint Institute for High Temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and his colleagues found that the terahertz radiation emitters can be used for other purposes by means of an installation capable of generating super high-intensity T rays.
When such rays collide with a matter that is "opaque" for them, such as metal or water, they are absorbed into it and generate electric fields, the power of which can vary greatly. In the past, as noted by Russian researchers, the power of these fields was low, and they were interested in how the behavior of the "translucent" matter would change as the intensity of these fields increases.
For this purpose, Russian physicists have engineered and tested a unique terahertz "laser", which makes it possible to create an electromagnetic field with a voltage of up to 100 million volts per centimeter of length, which is roughly equivalent to what fields occur when lightning strikes. According to scientists, no power unit in the world can achieve such indicators.
When experimenting with this radiator, scientists fired at aluminum plates and films with it, changing the power and other properties of the rays. At some point in time, a T-ray pulse struck a hole in the foil, which surprised Mikhail Agrānat and his colleagues, since scientists had previously believed that terahertz radiation should quickly decay when moving through metal and not cause any harm to it.  
Having discovered this unusual phenomenon, physicists tried to repeat it and find the boundary where terahertz radiation begins to destroy the metal. As these observations have shown, a high power pulse with an energy density of about 150 milliwatts per square centimeter is needed to burn a hole.
If the power of the radiator decreases just a bit, then it will not make a hole in a metal plate, but unusual "scars" will appear on its surface, as further observations by Mikhail Agranath and his colleagues show.
“We have discovered a striking effect: numerous pulses with power below the threshold will cause destruction of a strange, unusual type. We have not yet been able to explain it, but at least we assumed the mechanism of its initiation. We suppose it happens due to electrostriction, the increase in the material’s volume when exposed to the electric field”, - the physicist pointed out.
In the near future, Mikhail Agranat and his colleagues plan to continue the experiments. They intend to figure out why the T-rays begin to "burn" the holes in the metal only when a certain level of energy density is reached, and why less powerful pulses of terahertz waves leave "scratches" on the metal surface.
Physicists conclude that radiators of the kind can be used for fine metal processing and a wide range of other purposes.
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Author: Vera Ivanova

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