Terahertz Imaging System for Concealed Weapon Detection

Award Information
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Branch: N/A
Contract: NBCHC050158
Agency Tracking Number: 0422011
Amount: $749,798.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: H-SB04.2-005
Solicitation Number: FY04.2
Small Business Information
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park, Bedford, MA, 01730-2396
DUNS: 065137978
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kurt Linden
 Senior Scientist
 (781) 275-6000
Business Contact
 Mark Little
Title: CEO, Spire Biomedical, Inc.
Phone: (781) 275-6000
Email: ssullivan@spirecorp.com
Research Institution
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, military and police surveillance, biomedical technology, agricultural inspection, transportation security, analytical instruments, and high-resolution spectroscopy. Homeland defense and military applications include detection of hidden weapons and explosives, while biomedical applications include DNA identification and analysis, high resolution spectroscopy for organic material identification, discrimination between normal and cancer cells, and potential identification of other tissue abnormalities. Scientific applications include high-resolution spectroscopy for rapid identification of trace gasses of heavy molecules, including explosives and chemical weapons.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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