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SBIR Phase I:Terahertz Imaging Radar for Law Enforcement

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2301538
Agency Tracking Number: 2301538
Amount: $274,927.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: IH
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-07-31
Small Business Information
162 Brookline Street Unit 2
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nathan Monroe
 (617) 616-8327
 nathan@thzcorp.com
Business Contact
 Nathan Monroe
Phone: (617) 616-8327
Email: nathan@thzcorp.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

This broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will improve public safety by furthering terahertz radar imaging technology for concealed threat detection. With increasing cases of weapons violence and mass casualty events across the nation, and an increase in the difficulty of detecting non-metallic weapons such as 3D-printed firearms and ceramic knives, a significant gap exists in threat detection technologies. This solution addresses a recognized need in an approximately $2 billion market which includes law enforcement and event venue security. Existing approaches (such as airport scanners and walkthrough metal detectors) are expensive, intrusive, and inconvenient or leave large gaps in detection capability.Terahertz radar imaging promises the performance of gold-standard airport scanners in a consumer grade, portable, and discreet device. By demonstrating a terahertz radar transceiver, this Phase I effort will de-risk a key technical element of this technology, which is critical for security applications and beyond. If successful, this project represents a significant step forward in addressing society’s concealed threat detection issues._x000D_
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The intellectual merit of this project revolves around the design, implementation, fabrication and testing of a terahertz radar transceiver, a key component in the approach used in a personnel screening device. No such transceiver is currently available to purchase on the open market, let alone at the costs and volumes required for the proposed commercial applications. When paired with other elements of the imaging system, the result will be a three-dimensional radar imager which is capable of “seeing through” dielectric materials such as fabrics and detecting concealed weapons and contraband, both metallic and non-metallic. The transceiver design effort will feature development of components such as frequency multipliers, amplifiers and mixers, and their electrical, mechanical, and thermal integration into a larger imaging system.This design phase will prioritize achieving cost, yield, and scalability metrics compatible with mass manufacture and widespread deployment. Key considerations involved in this effort are the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and Dynamic Range (DR) of the system, both important metrics in imaging performance and therefore weapons detection capability. The project leverages recent advances in terahertz integrated circuit technology.The anticipated result is the experimental demonstration of such a component for integration into the fully functional imaging systems._x000D_
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This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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