SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  OSD05-D08 (OSD)
Title:  Terahertz (THz) Source Development
Research & Technical Areas:  Weapons

Acquisition Program:  
  Objective:  Develop a compact, transportable terahertz (THz) radiation source that delivers tens of watts of THz power. The source may be either broad-band or narrow-band and tunable so that both imaging and spectroscopic applications can be accommodated.
  Description:  THz electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range from around 0.3 to 10 THz, is an unexplored frontier in imaging science and technology, whose application holds great promise for defense, medical imaging, drug discovery and homeland security [1]. Until now, the major impediment to the development of applications in this frequency range has been the lack of sufficiently sensitive detectors, and powerful compact sources of terahertz radiation. THz sources delivering output powers in the tens of watts range will enable a host of sensing and measurement applications such as stand-off detection of concealed weapons, explosives and biological hazards as well as secure communications, upper atmospheric imaging and various forms of non-destructive evaluation (NDE). Compact photonics-based THz sources are striving to achieve 100 mW of output power while accelerator-based sources utilizing synchrotron radiation can produce kW’s of THz output but cannot readily be scaled for efficient, transportable operation. A transportable source technology that bridges this gap and delivers tens of watts of THz radiation, among other applications, could enable effective secure communications as well as stand-off detection of explosives or chemical and biological agents.

  PHASE I: Detailed study and design of a > 10 W output power prototype device, identifying key sub-components, and/or simulations for the 0.3 - 10 THz regime. Demonstrate thorough that the concept is transportable and can achieve an efficiency approaching 1% so that standard vehicle power supplies can be used.
  PHASE II: Fabricate and demonstrate > 10 W output power in a transportable prototype device that meets the overall source efficiency goal of 1% or greater.

  PHASE III DUAL-USE COMMERCIALIZATION: The terahertz regime has many potential applications that would benefit from the power level sought. In addition to the defense applications cited, higher power, compact sources would enable higher throughput in medical, drug discovery and other NDE applications that are currently limited by the available power.

  References:   P. H. Siegel, “Terahertz technology,” IEEE Transactions On Microwave Theory And Techniques, Vol. 50, NO. 3, March 2002.


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