Spire to develop terahertz imager

Spire Corporation has been awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project from the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) to develop a terahertz-based standoff detection imager that emits terahertz “light” and then detects the signal reflected from individuals or objects, imaging hidden weapons or explosives that they might be carrying.

BEDFORD, MA - Spire Corporation has been awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project from the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) to develop a terahertz-based standoff detection imager that emits terahertz “light” and then detects the signal reflected from individuals or objects, imaging hidden weapons or explosives that they might be carrying.

According to Spire, terahertz radiation is yet to be exploited for this and many other applications because of the lack of terahertz radiation sources. Spire’s Bandwidth Semiconductor subsidiary has been developing tiny gallium arsenide based quantum cascade lasers using nanotechnology semiconductor material growth to address this market need.

Phase I of the HSARPA program identified critical atmospheric terahertz 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. In Phase II, Spire will develop this imager in a collaborative effort with the University of Massachusetts (Lowel)l Submillimeter Wave Technology Laboratory.

“This new terahertz technology is of great interest to our company since it has the potential of contributing to the nation’s defense against terrorism,” said Roger Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. “Terahertz quantum cascade lasers also have broad application in instruments for biological agent detection, DNA structure identification, and medical diagnostics. These are also ideal devices for Bandwidth Semiconductor to produce and offer to these markets.”

More in Home