STTR Phase I: Compact, Low-cost Remote Sensing of Methamphetamine Labs

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Bridger Photonics
112 E. Lincoln, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE, Bozeman, MT, 59725
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jason Brasseur
(306) 599-7657
Business Contact:
Jason Brasseur
(406) 599-7657
Research Institution:
Montana State Univ
Peter A Roos
309 Montana Hall
Bozeman, MT, 59717 2470
(406) 994-6428
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I research project addresses the need for sensitive, portable, low-cost, laser-based remote sensing devices to detect chemical effluents of illicit methamphetamine (meth) production from a distance. The proposed project will develop an innovative correlated-mode laser source for high-resolution mid-infrared differential absorption lidar. To accomplish this the research team will base the research on a compact, monolithic, passively Q-switched laser/optical parametric oscillator design that has proven incredibly effective for ranging purposes (no spectroscopy) in demanding environments. This source, in its present state, is unsuitable for high-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopy. The team will therefore advance the laser by targeting the desired effluent mid-IR wavelengths, significantly improving the spectral, spatial, and temporal emission characteristics, and incorporating dual mode operation. Realization of the laser source will enable real-time remote detection of meth labs in widely varying environments, locations, and circumstances with quantum-limited detection sensitivity, spectral selectivity for the desired molecules in a spectral region that is difficult to access, and differential measurement capabilities for effective self calibration. Methamphetamine (meth) use in the U.S. and particularly in the state of Montana has reached epidemic levels. Meth is considered the most addictive illicit drug and is easily produced with widely available and inexpensive ingredients. The drug is often implicated in violent crimes and is rapidly becoming more popular with teenagers and minorities. Meth use in Montana is dramatically higher than the national average and almost 3/4 of the state's federal sentences were meth related in 2003. Aggressive use prevention efforts are showing progress, but complementary efforts to address the supply side of the meth problem are direly needed. In fact, 65% of Montana's young adults report that meth is very or somewhat easy to obtain. Meth's abundant availability is often attributed to the fact that it is alarmingly easy to produce and that makeshift clandestine labs are now ubiquitous (in homes, apartments, motels, storage facilities, etc). These labs are becoming increasingly difficult for law enforcement to uncover as the producers become more sophisticated and mobile. Drug enforcement personnel on local, national, and international levels require the ability to detect meth labs rapidly and in widely varying locations and circumstances. This capability currently does not exist.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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