Biomolecular Taggants for Covert Tracking and Watermarking

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8750-09-C-0043
Agency Tracking Number: F073-035-0262
Amount: $736,289.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: AF073-035
Solicitation Number: 2007.3
Small Business Information
278 DP Road, Suite D, Los Alamos, NM, 87544
DUNS: 147452275
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Benjamin Warner
 (505) 412-2345
Business Contact
 Benjamin Warner
Title: CEO
Phone: (505) 412-2345
Research Institution
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.

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

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