T-rays technology could help develop Star Trek-style hand-held medical scanners: This new design creates a T-ray beam at low temperatures, essentially by mixing and amplifying beams of light at different wavelengths. It uses a pair of electrodes situated just 100 nanometers apart on a semiconductor substrate. Light in two different wavelengths shines on the electrodes and is funneled through the 100-nm gap. A strong current between the electrodes acts as an antenna and amplifies the light to the THz range. The T-rays can even be tuned to create a constant beam, which would be required for a T-ray scanner. The setup is two orders of magnitude stronger than existing THz systems, the researchers say in their paper, which was published this month in Nature Photonics.
Along with their efficacy at low temperatures, the best thing about this T-ray beam is its small size — it’s tiny enough to be integrated into existing silicon chips.