Research CommentariesRADIATION SOURCES

Scanning with Ease Through the Far Infrared

Science  08 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5365, pp. 854
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5365.854

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Good radiation sources in the far infrared (300 to 900 micrometers) are difficult to find, but very important for spectroscopic studies of matter. In his research commentary, Temkin discusses a device recently reported by Urata et al. in Physical Review Letters in which the electron beam components of a standard electron microscope were used to create far infrared radiation. When the electron beam is passed over a metal grating with the right periodicity, the electrons induce positive "image" charge that oscillates like an antenna and emits far infrared radiation.