Terahertz Imaging System for Concealed Weapon Detection
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
* information listed above is at the time of submission.