Étudiant-chercheur étoile June 2015

Hichem Guerboukha

Master's student in Physical Engineering
École Polytechnique de Montréal

Award-winning publication: Silk Foam Terahertz Waveguides

Published in: Advanced Optical Materials



"Terahertz are electromagnetic waves in the electromagnetic spectrum between infrared and microwaves. They hold the potential to explore matter in novel ways. Their penetration capabilities make it possible to see through several non-conductive materials such as skin, clothing and plastic. They also have the advantage of being low energy. However, they remain challenging to handle for several reasons, including the limited range of source and sensor equipment. In the article, we demonstrate the feasibility of using biodegradable, biocompatible silk foam, which does not damage the biological environment in which it is used, to transmit THz waves. The study brings together several disciplines such as material science, biomedical science and optics."

There is a growing interest in the use of THz to study matter in the agri-food and biomedical sectors. For example, with THz spectroscopy, it is possible to detect pathogens and parasites in food during production and on large surfaces. In the biomedical field, THz are used to diagnose dental disease and skin cancer. In all of these applications, it is best to use a THz transmission method that is biocompatible, and this is precisely what Hichem Guerboukha demonstrates in his study. More broadly, the research will foster the development of new technologies (THz and biomedical advancements) to position Québec and Canada as leaders in the fields.