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Award Information
Proposal Number: 0422011
Proposal Title: Terahertz Imaging System for Concealed Weapon Detection
Topic Number: H-SB04.2-005
Phase: Phase II
Topic Title: Innovative Techniques for Concealed Weapons or Explosive Detection at a Distance
Organization: Spire Corporation
Address: One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730-2396  
Abstract: This Phase II Small Business Innovation Research project is aimed at designing, assembling, and demonstrating an entirely new imaging system capable of detecting hidden weapons at standoff distances. Phase I of this program successfully identified critical terahertz atmospheric transmission windows with high precision, defined the best candidate imaging system, and carried out an analysis of this system resulting in detailed system performance predictions. Compact and efficient semiconductor terahertz quantum cascade lasers are currently being developed by several companies (including Spire) and laboratories, and will soon be commercially available. Using these laser sources as illuminators and local oscillators, a small and portable imaging system based on ultra-sensitive, room temperature, coherent heterodyne detection is proposed. Terahertz radiation, with its submillimeter wavelengths, is non-ionizing and low in energy, avoiding environmental safety issues. Working with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Submillimeter Wave Technology Laboratory as a subcontractor, Phase II will involve (a) completion of the imager system design begun during Phase I, (b) assembly of a breadboard imaging system, and (c) demonstration and evaluation of the imaging system under simulated field conditions using representative or surrogate explosives and weapons. Commercialization of the imaging system will be carried out utilizing Spire's Biomedical manufacturing, marketing, and sales resources. The commercial availability of terahertz imaging systems will have a strong impact on homeland defense, military and police surveillance, biomedical technology, agricultural inspection, transportation security, analytical instruments, and high-resolution spectroscopy. Homeland defense and military applications include detection of hidden weapons and explosives, while biomedical applications include DNA identification and analysis, high resolution spectroscopy for organic material identification, discrimination between normal and cancer cells, and potential identification of other tissue abnormalities. Scientific applications include high-resolution spectroscopy for rapid identification of trace gasses of heavy molecules, including explosives and chemical weapons.
Award/Contract Number: NBCHC050158
Period of Performance: 10/01/2005 - 12/30/2007
Award/Contract Value: $749,798.00
Award/Obligated Amount: $749,798.00