Is terahertz safe?

Terahertz , which falls between the microwave and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (with frequencies typically from 0.1 to 10 THz), is generally considered safe at low intensities. Here are some key points regarding its safety:

  1. Non-Ionizing Radiation: Terahertz radiation is non-ionizing, meaning it doesn't carry enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules or cause direct DNA damage like X-rays or gamma rays do. This generally makes it safer than ionizing radiation.

  2. Absorption in Biological Tissues: Terahertz waves are absorbed by water molecules in biological tissues, which can cause heating. However, the penetration depth is limited, usually only a few millimeters into the skin.

  3. Exposure Levels: The safety of terahertz radiation largely depends on the intensity and duration of exposure. Low-power terahertz sources, such as those used in imaging and spectroscopy, are generally considered safe. High-power sources, which could cause significant heating, need to be handled with care.

  4. Regulations and Standards: There are established safety standards and guidelines for exposure to terahertz radiation. Organizations like the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) provide guidelines to ensure safe exposure levels.

  5. Research and Applications: Ongoing research aims to better understand the biological effects of terahertz radiation. So far, applications in medical imaging, security screening, and communication technologies have shown it to be safe under controlled conditions.

In summary, terahertz radiation is considered safe at low intensities and with controlled exposure, but as with any form of electromagnetic radiation, it's important to follow safety guidelines and standards.