Radio signals reach pilots on board an aircraft through the “radar dome,“ the rounded nose of the aircraft. But the errors that occur during the production of this nose — tiny foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles — can impede radio traffic. In the future, a non-destructive testing system will identify such imperfections during production.

The system uses terahertz waves to completely scan the aircraft nose, which is several centimeters thick, and immediately identify any flaws.

The waves are generated in a rolling cabinet not unlike those found in many offices: it contains a microwave source and all electronics to control the system and to collect the data. A frequency mixer multiplies the frequency of the microwave radiation generated into the terahertz range


Also: Simulation tools model icing for aircraft design.