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Biomolecular Taggants for Covert Tracking and Watermarking

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Caldera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
278 DP Road Suite D LOS ALAMOS, NM -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Biomolecular Taggants for Covert Tracking and Watermarking
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8750-09-C-0043
Award Amount: $736,289.00


Functional taggants are paints or inks that change their optical properties in response to specified environmental conditions, such as the presence of a chemical related to illicit weapon activities. In this project, we will develop taggant systems for two non-conventional weapon signatures. Taggants will have high chemical selectivity (avoids false positives), high chemical affinity (avoids flase negatives), tunable fluorescent properties, long term stability, and compatibility with common near infrared active and passive remote sensing hardware. Taggants consist of synthetic proteins selected in a high-throughput screen for their functional properties. These functional properties include optical properties and chemical selectivity/affinity. Specific goals include: > Generation of a taggant set. > Set testing for selectivity, affinity, and optical properties with clear and reliable acceptance criteria. > Confirmatory testing for selectivity, affinity, optical properties, and environmental durability. > Providing the system to the Air Force for testing, evaluation, and use. BENEFIT: Asymmetric threats using CBRNE agents have been demonstrated, including anthrax attacks on the US Postal Service and the US Senate, chlorine tanker attacks in Iraq, and nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. Taggants that allow the tracking of adversaries who make and transport these materials will allow better intelligence to counter these threats. The products from Phase II will be taggant systems tailored for specific analytes (listed in the proposal) which have primarily defense applications. The taggant system will consist of the taggants developed in Phase II and existing optical remote sensing hardware. Caldera is replacing existing components with enhanced components. The economics of taggant development require an SBIR or similar mechanism, because the cost of functional taggants is primarily incurred in the development of the taggants. Non-recurring engineering costs are high, and the marginal product costs are low. The primary customer is the military.

Principal Investigator:

Benjamin Warner

Business Contact:

Benjamin Warner
Small Business Information at Submission:

278 DP Road, Suite D Los Alamos, NM 87544

EIN/Tax ID: 200982060
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No