The new chip, designed at the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE), uses the tetrahertz spectrum in the electromagnetic field to allow capture of images. The tetrahertz spectrum lies between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum, and has been most notably used in TSA Body Scanners. The waves could allow imaging chips to see through walls, but because of privacy concerns, the team has limited the effective range to about 4 inches.
Ideally, the team would like to see this technology adopted in the medical field for its use in detecting cancer, or possible use in the consumer space in things like construction. The process that the team has created allows for the creation of CMOS chips, pretty standard in consumer electronics, which can use the tetrahertz spectrum. This would greatly lower the cost of creating these types of imagers (TSA Body Scanners are said to cost upwards of $150,000) and placing them in smaller, more mobile devices allow for easier use.
Of course, there have been claims that tetrahertz radiation could possibly destroy human DNA, but the research isn't really complete on that just yet.
source: UT Dallas News Center