News News

2009-09-17 00:00:00.0 Topics

Successfully Develops World's First Terahertz Wave 3D Imaging System

TOKYO, Japan, September 17, 2009 - Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857, NYSE: ATE) today announced that it has successfully developed the world's first terahertz (THz = 1012 Hz) wave imaging system, using Advantest's original terahertz wave technology, for nondestructive three dimensional (3D) analysis and inspection. The system is the first product developed within the framework of Advantest's New Concept Product Initiative, launched in March 2009, and is expected to form a cornerstone of the company's new business strategy. Anticipating diverse industrial applications for terahertz waves, Advantest has announced a commitment to exploring applications in fields including industrial materials, medicine, biotechnology and security.

Straddling the border between radio and optical emissions, terahertz waves have frequencies ranging from a few tens GHz to 100 THz. These electromagnetic waves possess remarkable properties including absorption spectra (also known as fingerprint spectra) that enable them to penetrate visually opaque materials. In addition, their spatial resolution is suitable for practical spectroscopic imaging applications. However, basic techniques for THz generation, detection, and measurement, until recently, had not been developed for commercial use, hampering the exploration of practical applications for terahertz wave technology.

Advantest has now announced the successful development of its Terahertz Wave 3D Imaging System, which integrates the company's longstanding expertise in optical and electronic measurement with its newly developed, proprietary femtosecond fiber laser technology, as well as imaging technology developed by Advantest in collaboration with Dr. Kodo Kawase of Nagoya University. The system boasts unprecedented capabilities for nondestructive visual analysis of the spatial distribution, chemical identification, and quantification of constituents of the material under inspection, e.g. ceramics or plastics.

Further, the new system's high-speed reflection-transmission measurement function, covering the 0.02-3 THz band (up to 7 THz in the optional configuration), allows probing for specific substances within a sample under inspection and providing 3D images, facilitating analysis of the spatial distribution of constituents or structural defects within the sample. In industrial applications, terahertz wave imaging enables a level of analysis that is impossible with microwave, infrared, X-ray, or ultrasonic techniques. And in the even more complex realms of medicine and biotechnology, potential applications for terahertz wave imaging include crystal polymorphism and ingredient analysis. Advantest is in the process of developing chemical and industrial applications for the new system, and is engaged in continuing research, in partnership with customers, to further expand the scope of new applications.

Advantest will exhibit the Terahertz Wave 3D Imaging System at Electrotest Japan, to be held Jan. 20 - 22 at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan.

  • [Terahertz Wave 3D Imaging System]

  • [Sample image of terahertz wave 3D measurement]


    Measured sample:
    a polyethylene cylinder as reagent, filled with amino acid and saccharide

System Overview

The Terahertz Wave 3D Imaging System integrates ultra-short pulse femtosecond fiber laser technology, high-speed measurement technology employing terahertz wave radiation, terahertz wave sensor technology for improved sensitivity, and 3D tomographic imaging technology to enable nondestructive 3D analysis of samples. In addition, it exploits the properties of terahertz waves, including their substance-intrinsic absorption spectrum and transparency, to enable probing and analysis of specific constituents of samples.

  1. 3D Imaging Analysis Using Terahertz Waves
    Using newly developed technology to compensate for refraction in the terahertz wave region, conducting a spatial scan of each sample while measuring its transmission characteristics, and taking advantage of computed tomography (CT) techniques for reconstructing images by means of the backprojection method, Advantest's new system provides 3D images of measurement results, facilitating analysis of sample structure and constituent ingredients. The company has also developed a terahertz wave high-speed optical sampling technique that uses Advantest's proprietary ultra-short pulse femtosecond fiber laser technology for high-accurate sampling timing, delivering measurement throughput approximately 1000 times greater than the company's previous system, and allowing the new system to obtain its 3D images with unprecedented rapidity.
  2. Broadband Terahertz Wave Spectroscopic Measurement
    Advantest's original ultra-short pulse femtosecond fiber laser supplies pulses of 80 fs duration with a highly stable repetition rate, enabling spectroscopic analysis at frequencies up to 3 THz, with an optional configuration covering the frequencies up to 7 THz. This enables broadband analysis of the fingerprint spectra of industrial, chemical, and bio-related materials.
  3. Parallel Measurement Capability for Volume Production Inspection
    In combination with its high-speed measurement throughput, additional terahertz wave generation and detection modules may easily be mounted in the system to provide as many as 20 channels, enabling the system to carry out terahertz wave inspection on volume production lines. Additionally, the generation and detection modules may be flexibly positioned to accommodate the shape and location of various measurement targets. The system is customizable to customer requirements and individual measurement locations.

Further Enquiries

Enquiries about this system should be directed to:
New Concept Product Initiative TAS Project
TEL: +81-22-392-8730 or email to:

Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change without warning.