Terahertz Applications in the Aerospace Industry

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Aerospace applications for terahertz (THz) imaging will be examined in this chapter. The outer skin of the aircraft consists of thin (~ millimeter) sheets of fiber composites that are bonded to honeycombed composites for structural support. During the manufacturing process, quality-assurance inspections could be performed on these thin sheets using a transmissive THz system. A transmissive system can accurately determine the optical path length of the sheet which provides useful information regarding the epoxy homogeneity and regions of delamination. For inspections after the aircraft has been manufactured, reflective THz geometry is required because there are often structural components beneath the layer of interest that obstruct the penetration of the transmitted THz wave. Experiments demonstrating the utility of both of these techniques using both pulsed and continuous (CW) THz systems will be explained in detail. Results from CW THz experiments will also be presented and compared to the pulsed THz experiments. The chapter concludes with an experimental study comparing traditional non-destructive imaging techniques to THz imaging systems.



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