Terahertz frequency radiation possesses a unique combination of desirable properties for noninvasive imaging and spectroscopy of materials. This includes the ability to obtain chemical and structural information about substances concealed within dry packaging, such as paper, plastics, and cardboard. As a result, the application of terahertz frequency spectroscopy for the sensing and identification of materials of security interest, such as explosives and, to a lesser extent, drugs-of-abuse, has caught the attention of a number of researchers and security agencies. We describe terahertz time-domain spectroscopy and examine the terahertz spectra of a wide range of drugs-of-abuse, pure explosives, and plastic explosives.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(08)70016-6