Advanced Photonix to explore feasibility of terahertz technology for military applications

Electro-optics engineers at Advanced Photonix Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., are determining the feasibility of using terahertz (THz) technology for defense applications under terms of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contracts with the U.S. Office of Naval Research and with the U.S. Air Force.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Electro-optics engineers at Advanced Photonix Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., are determining the feasibility of using terahertz (THz) technology for defense applications under terms of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contracts with the U.S. Office of Naval Research and with the U.S. Air Force.

The Air Force contract is for development of nondestructive-testing (NDT) applications. Advanced Photonix experts propose to demonstrate the feasibility of using the company’s THz products to test advanced composite materials that protect radar systems by identifying defects such as delaminations and water intrusion.

Additional application development feasibility work will detect other defects, such as metal intrusions, resin-poor or -rich areas, and fluid contaminations, such as from oil, fuel, in other materials such as aircraft composites.

The Navy contract is exploratory research to determine the feasibility of developing field-portable, passive, continuous-wave THz imaging product for antiterrorism/force protection by detecting concealed terrorists’ threats from a distance.

Passive THz is a method of detecting THz radiated by the body and requires extremely sensitive detection techniques due to the body’s weak THz emission. Beyond the Navy, this THz imaging technology could have applications in defense and homeland security applications, company officials say.

“These SBIR contracts help us build on the success that we have started with NASA and the TSA in developing our standard THz systems for a variety of applications,” says Richard Kurtz, chairman and chief executive officer of Advanced Photonix. “Our success in moving THz out of the laboratory and into the field and factory floor is dependent upon our application development.”

Each contract is a phase I feasibility project in the maximum amount of $100,000, with an expected duration of one year. If either project is deemed successful, the company can further develop the technology.

If awarded, the phase II contracted amounts could range up to a maximum of $750,000 per project, with a maximum funding duration of two years. The company will own the rights to any developed technology and is free to commercialize it in both private and/or military markets.

For more information contact Advanced Photonix online at www.advancedphotonix.com.

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