A silicon device inside of a mobile phone enables anyone to search for harmful material, drugs, or even health diagnoses.

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a microchip that can act as an X-ray tool for any electric device. These tiny inexpensive silicon microchips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, that can penetrate a variety of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays. While easily penetrating packaging materials and rendering image details in high resolution, and the THz waves can also detect the chemical fingerprints of pharmaceutical drugs, biological weapons, or illegal drugs or explosives, enabling a broad range of applications in different fields.

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