UNBC Prof Sets World Terahertz Record

March 7, 2006
Working with colleagues at the Advanced Laser Light Source in Montreal, a UNBC Physics professor has made a research achievement that may prove vital to the forest industry and other applications for imaging technology.

Matt Reid has used ultrafast lasers to produce bursts of terahertz waves with the largest energies ever, breaking the previous world record that was set in 1993.  

Terahertz waves are located on the electromagnetic spectrum, between gigahertz (used in microwave ovens and cell phones) and petahertz (used by lasers and fluorescent lights). They have been the subject of research for the past 20 years but the higher energies now available are key to realizing many potential industrial applications.

“Terahertz waves have many of the same benefits as x-rays without the health dangers,” says Dr. Reid, who graduated from DP Todd Secondary in Prince George and earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from UNBC. “The applications of terahertz technology range from airport security to detecting pollutants in the atmosphere. I’m most interested now in applying this technology to the forest industry.”

Dr. Reid is working with Bruce Sutherland and Wolftek Industries of Prince George to bring terahertz technology from the lab to the “real world.” They are applying their results to systems that will characterize the fibre quality of wood, both as logs and as processed wood products. These will allow mill managers to extract the maximum value from each tree. For example, one of the goals is to enable forest operations to better utilize logs affected by the mountain pine beetle.

Visit www.unbc.ca/media
•    More information about the research
•    High-resolution photos
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Dr. Matthew Reid, Physics professor, UNBC – 250.960.6622
Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC – 250.960.5622 

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