Devices that emit and detect radiation in the terahertz part of the spectrum — between the infrared and microwave regions — have potential applications in imaging, including in medical diagnostics. Researchers have developed a compact and efficient terahertz detector that works at room temperature.
Miriam Vitiello of the National Enterprise for nanoScience and nanoTechnology in Pisa, Italy, and her team built their detector out of indium arsenide nanowires 1.5 micrometres long and 30 nanometres in diameter. Radiation from a 1.5-terahertz emitter was funnelled to the detector from a bow-tie-shaped antenna.
The researchers suggest that the detector could be tuned to respond to even higher frequencies, and could be built into multi-pixel arrays, which are ideal for detectors.