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A team of physicists has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves, which are extremely difficult to detect. The discovery could help miniaturize the detection equipment on microchips and enhance sensitivity.

Terahertz is a unit of electromagnetic wave frequency: One gigahertz equals 1 billion hertz; 1 terahertz equals 1,000 gigahertz. The higher the frequency, the faster the transmission of information. Cell phones, for example, operate at a few gigahertz.

The finding, reported today in Nature, is based on a magnetic resonance phenomenon in anti-ferromagnetic materials. Such materials, also called antiferromagnets, offer unique advantages for ultrafast and spin-based nanoscale device applications.

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Category: Science