A New Camera Can Capture Objects That It Doesn't Even See

Dhir Acharya - Feb 24, 2020


A New Camera Can Capture Objects That It Doesn't Even See

The new camera technique involves the use of terahertz radiation, that can penetrate an object like X-rays but without removing its spectral fingerprint.

The human eye has a very limited vision, we cannot see really far or clearly in the dark. And like other animals, the human eye cannot see through solid objects. However, that’s about to change, or at least, we will get help from electronic devices as physicists at the University of Sussex have developed a non-linear camera that can capture high-resolution photos of what’s inside a solid object using terahertz (THz) radiation. This creation is the first of its kind, and just by its name, we can already see so much potential in the technology.

A New Camera Can Capture Objects That It Doesn't See

Their THz camera relies on laser light patterns to see the interior of an object, from which it can disclose small hidden features of living things.

Images generated by THz radiation are hyperspectral because they’re made of pixels, each pixel has an electromagnet signature unique to the exact point of the object.

Terahertz radiation can easily go through materials like plastics, clothes, and paper like X-rays, but it doesn’t do harm to the object it penetrates. THz radiation is safe for use for the most delicate biological samples.

The most useful thing about terahertz radiation is that its preciseness allows us to tell the smallest granule apart, like cocaine.

A New Camera Can Capture Objects That It Doesn't See

However, according to professor Marco Peccianti, the lead researcher of this study, the main challenge for using THz cameras is preserving the spectral fingerprint of an object as the technique can corrupt it easily. And this is where their achievement stands out, the professor said. The new THz technique preserves all the fingerprints of the details of an image in a way that allows us to investigate the object’s nature completely.

As of now, a camera is not believed to be able to capture a hyperspectral image of an object while preserving all of its details, which are revealed by terahertz radiation.  Research co-author Dr. Totero Gongora stated that:

A New Camera Can Capture Objects That It Doesn't See

Dr. Gongora continued by pointing out the next phase of the research, which is speeding up the reconstruction process as well as bringing the study closer to THz camera real-world applications, such as quality control, intelligent car sensors, airport security, and even scanning for skin cancer.

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