Hand-held, Standoff Chemical-Biological Hazard Detector

Period of Performance: 06/21/2002 - 12/21/2002

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aculight Corp.
22121 - 20th Avenue SE
Bothell, WA 98021
Principal Investigator

Abstract

SOCOM, other military branches, and civilian authorities (homeland defense) need ways to rapidly determine the presence of chemical and biological threats and classify their nature. Standoff detection of the threats would greatly enhance personnel safety and allow more operational flexibility. We propose a novel laser-based system allowing remote measurements of the infrared spectra of aerosols, vapors, and surface contaminants. The key elements of the system are a pump laser based on well-developed COTS fiber-optic components used in the telecom industry, coupled with a novel optical parametric oscillator tunable in the critical 7-12 micron spectral region. By leveraging off the recent rapid progress made in commercial fiber optic telecom technology for the primary components of the pump laser, the system can be made compact, rugged, and low cost. The unique optical parametric oscillator makes use of the fiber optic pump laser feasible, due to the minimal pump pulse energy required to produce output in the 7-12 micron range. The resulting system will be able to rapidly measure infrared reflectance of surfaces and absorbance of aerosols at ranges up to hundreds of yards, allowing detection and identification of most chemical and many biological threats.