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Trick of light makes microwave imaging simple

Metamaterials plus math equals quick, cheap system

The days of standing still, arms raised, in an airport security scanner may soon be a thing of the past. A new microwave imaging system offers a fast, inexpensive way to see through clothing and other objects that gathers data without involving complicated moving parts.

The new system, reported in the Jan. 18 Science, employs a thin copper strip as an aperture that collects a range of microwave-frequency light. Elegant math then converts those data into an image in less than a second.

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