Terahertz System for Medical and Biological Imaging and Nanomaterial Characterization Research at the University of Arkansas
In 2012, the National Science Foundation has awarded Magda El-Shenawee, Principal Investigator, professor of electrical engineering, a new Terahertz Imaging and Spectroscopy System to conduct cutting edge research at the University of Arkansas. Co-investigators are Greg Salamo, distinguished professor of physics, and Steve Stephenson, research professor in biological sciences, at the University of Arkansas; Robert Griffin, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and Gilbert Pacey, professor of biochemistry at Miami University in Ohio,
The objective of this research is to support non-destructive, non-hazardous and non-invasive imaging applications in engineering, medical, and biological sciences. The approach is based on pulsed terahertz spectroscopy and imaging that has a spectral range from 0.06 to 3 terahertz with high resolution, up to 80 micrometers.
The availability of this terahertz system will lead to contribution to our understanding and utilization of terahertz radiation and imaging techniques in a wide variety of applications. These include investigating breast tumor margins of excised tissue to help reduce cancer recurrence; guiding the fabrication of nano-acoustic imaging materials and devices; studying water content and fungal presence in ecological research, and understanding and monitoring thermal ablation for cancer therapy. The advantage of terahertz light over visible light is that scattering is less allowing imaging deep into an object.
The availability of the terahertz instrument will provide access to unique education, research collaboration and training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Underrepresented students will be engaged in training opportunities through diversity initiatives at the University of Arkansas.
Terahertz technology provides non-destructive and rapid characterization of coating materials that will impact automobile, aircraft, food, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, and solar photovoltaic energy industry. The capability of terahertz medical imaging will advance oral healthcare and skin and breast cancer detection and treatment. Terahertz technology provides safe imaging and screening that will advance the identification of hidden explosives and personnel screening at airports and mail screening for bio-threats, which will impact national security.