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NEC Develops Ultra-sensitive Terahertz Camera - Major progress towards practical applications, such as non-destructive inspection and detection of foreign substances - NEC.com
NEC Develops Ultra-sensitive Terahertz Camera

 

NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Tokyo, Japan, 2014/11/11 - Major progress towards practical applications, such as non-destructive inspection and detection of foreign substances - NEC.com. NEC; TSE: 6701

   
 
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NEC Corporation, under the Commissioned Research of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, •1), has developed a new pixel structure for Terahertz (THz, •2) array sensors and improved the Minimum Detectable Power per pixel (MDP) at 0.5 - 0.6 THz frequency, a ten time improvement over NEC's conventional product.

NEC currently produces and markets a THz camera (IRV-T0831) equipped with a 320X240-pixel array sensor. However, NEC's latest technologies enable it to develop and produce a 640X480-pixel array sensor which has four times the number of pixels than the current model. NEC has also developed a camera equipped with the array sensor, making it one of the world's largest number of pixels at a THz frequency band.

Furthermore, NEC improved the signal-to-noise ratio by four times using a 4X4 pixel binning process combining adjacent pixels, and enhanced the MDP value 40 times together with the effect of the new pixel structure so that NEC achieved one of the world's highest levels of sensitivity at the 0.5 - 0.6 THz frequency band for a two-dimensional array sensor (*3) operating at room temperature.

"NEC has been addressing the development of a highly sensitive real-time uncooled terahertz camera and the improvement in the sensitivity of terahertz array sensors since the development of a highly sensitive bolometer-type (*4) uncooled two-dimensional terahertz array sensor in April 2008," said Dr. Naoki Oda, Executive Engineer, Radio Application, Guidance and Electro-Optics Division, NEC. "Going forward, NEC will pursue the development and production of terahertz imaging equipment using the present results and contribute to a variety of fields such as non-destructive inspection, medicine/drug development, and illegal object detection."

The THz wave is an electromagnetic wave located between infrared and radio wave. Research and development of new application technologies to enhance measurement and communications are being promoted through use of the THz wave, which penetrates plastic, paper, and clothes and is thought to be safer than X-ray imaging. Therefore, THz technology has received extra attention as a major contributor to next generation technologies for non-destructive inspection, medical diagnosis and others.

Please see the attachments for an overview of the improvement in sensitivity and the positioning of the MDP value of NEC's array sensor featuring a new pixel structure.

Notes:
(*1) Research and development for a real-time THz camera for filling a THz gap.
(*2) Electromagnetic wave of 0.1 THz to 10 THz frequency range, which corresponds to the wavelength range from 3 mm to 30 μm, located between radio wave and infrared.
(*3) Two-dimensional array sensor is a sensor in which microbolometers are arranged two-dimensionally in rows and columns. A familiar example is an image sensor inside a digital camera.
(*4) A bolometer is a detector-type that receives electromagnetic waves in a sensitive area and measures the electric resistance changing in accordance with the increased temperature.

About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (nec.com) is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society.

Based on its Mid-term Management Plan 2015, the NEC Group globally provides "Solutions for Society" that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. NEC's brand message of "Orchestrating a brighter world" represents the fusion of advanced information and communication technologies and know-how created in coordination with partners and customers all over the world in order to contribute to the betterment of society and realize a brighter and more prosperous future.

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marks mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. ©2014 NEC Corporation.

 
 
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NEC Develops Ultra-sensitive Terahertz Camera

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