A New Graphene Sensor Will Let Us See Through Walls

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Remember all those amazing things graphene can supposedly do? Well, the wonder material is starting to do them. A team of researchers from the University of Maryland recently developed a graphene-based sensor that lets people see through walls. Obviously, they want to make goggles with it.

The new sensor is remarkable for its ability to detect the terahertz radiation spectrum (aka T-rays) at room temperature. This unique part of the light spectrum can be tuned to see through surfaces—anything from concrete to human skin. Historically, scientists haven't been able to make use of T-rays, though because the sensors needed to be kept at extremely low temperatures to work. But the Maryland team found a way to make a room temperature sensor with graphene.

Immediate applications of this technology will almost definitely involve the military. Just imagine how useful goggles that see through walls would be in a war zone. The sensors could also let us use T-rays instead of harmful X-rays for medical applications. The idea that consumers could get ahold of these sensors is dubious from a privacy perspective, not to mention graphene is still so wildly expensive. Useful! But wildly expensive. [Nature Nanotechnology via Discovery]

Image via Flickr / USAF