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THz-Wave Spectroscopy Applied to the Detection of Illicit Drugs in Mail

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5 Author(s)
Dobroiu, A. ; Inst. of Phys. & Chem. Res., Sendai ; Sasaki, Y. ; Shibuya, T. ; Otani, C.
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A series of experiments in the field of THz-wave spectroscopy is described. The measurement of absorption spectra of solid samples, powders, and liquids is demonstrated using various optical setups. One of the sources we used is a widely tunable coherent THz-wave generator relying on an optical parametric process: nanosecond Q-switched Nd : YAG laser light scattering from the polariton mode of a MgO-doped LiNbO3 crystal. For the measurement of the absorption of THz waves in liquids, a train of waves is allowed to oscillate inside a silicon prism. A liquid placed on a total internal reflection surface lowers the quality factor of the resonator, which allows determining the complex refraction index of the sample by frequency scanning. We have also developed a technique for THz chemical imaging, by introducing the component spatial pattern analysis. The spatial distribution of the chemicals, such as illicit drugs concealed in an envelope, is obtained from terahertz multispectral transillumination images and absorption spectra. To compensate for the low imaging speed, a prescreening step is proposed, by first detecting the presence of powders in the envelopes, which is achieved by measuring in real time the amount of scattering produced by the envelopes. Details and examples are provided.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:95 ,  Issue: 8 )