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Yun-Shik Lee of the OSU physics department is one of the premier researchers in terahertz spectroscopy, and received a CAREER award from NSF in 2005 for his work. His proposal is entitled “CAREER: Coherent Manipulation of Carriers and Nonlinear Optical Processes in Semiconductor Quantum Wells Via Intense Multi-Cycle Terahertz Pulses”
The THz regime of the electromagnetic spectrum is a little-studied region sandwiched between the IR and microwave. The optical elements for doing all the usual tricks (polarizers, pulse shaping, etc) are simply not developed for the terahertz range. Not only is Yun-Shik Lee at the forefront of making new optical elements for this unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum, but he is also interested in applications to semiconductor quantum wells, photonic crystals (meta-materials), and carrier transport in solids.
Dr. Lee lists many practical applications of terahertz spectroscopy and terahertz imaging such as: medical applications (skin and cell diagnosis), security (detecting hidden weapons), quality testing of food sealed in plastic bags, detection of defects in heat shield foam for space shuttles, nondestructive circuit diagnosis of IC chips, identification of biological and chemical agents, and high speed modulation in optical communication.