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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Handheld 'T-ray' Device Earns New $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize

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via PRNewswire

TROY, N.Y., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- "T-rays" have been touted as the next breakthrough in sensing and imaging, but the need for bulky equipment has been an obstacle to reaching the field's potential. Enter Brian Schulkin , winner of the first-ever $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. Schulkin has invented an ultralight, handheld terahertz spectrometer -- an advance that could help catapult T-ray technology from the lab bench to the marketplace.

Schulkin's "Mini-Z" is dramatically smaller and lighter than any previous terahertz device, and it already has proven its ability to detect cracks in space shuttle foam, image tumors in breast tissue, and spot counterfeit watermarks on paper currency. The system, which weighs less than five pounds and fits snugly in a briefcase, could open the door to a wide range of applications in homeland security, biomedical imaging, and non destructive testing of industrial components.

Schulkin, a doctoral student in physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the first recipient of the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. The award is given to a Rensselaer senior or graduate student who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way,or otherwise demonstrated remarkable inventiveness.

"Discovery and innovation are the sparks that drive the global economy and enhance quality of life. The Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize is designed to inspire and reward those who push the boundaries of imagination, and do the creative work to break new ground," said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson . " Brian Schulkin embodies that spirit of innovation, discovery, and excellence. We celebrate his ingenuity and commitment. We applaud him and all of our students who participated in this inaugural competition, and we encourage them to keep exploring and to keep pushing the boundaries."

For photos and video of the winner, as well as a Webcast of the announcement ceremony, please visit: www.rpi.edu/lemelson. High-resolution images and broadcast quality video are available upon request.

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