Infrared Standoff Bio-Agent Discrimination

Period of Performance: 04/10/2000 - 06/10/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Sciences, Inc.
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Physical Sciences Inc. Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), along with its development partner ITT Systems and Sciences Inc. (ITT), proposes to construct and test an innovative compact and high power infrared LIDAR system for the standoff detection and discrimination of biological aerosols at ranges approaching 10 km. Our approach anticipates the use of the signal (~l.55 um) and idler (~3.4 to 3.7 um) wavelengths from a tandem solid state optical parametric oscillator (OPO) transmitter to provide returns which are unique to biological aerosols and clearly differentiable from normal atmospheric aerosol backgrounds, thereby performing the discrimination task. Discrimination is provided by observing the backscatter variation in the region from 3.4 to 3.7 um, which increases monotonically for biological aerosols while remaining constant for natural atmospheric aerosols. The 1.55 um signal channel may be used exclusively for the undifferentiated detection of aerosols to ranges exceeding 20 km and can be used to cue the 3.4 to 3.7 um channel to perform the discrimination task as the cloud approaches. This approach may be extended through the use of wavelength tuning in the signal channel to detect the chemical signature of growth media, which are co-distributed in the agent containing aerosol. BENEFITS: The anticipated result of the Phase II effort is the development, construction, delivery and testing of a novel OPO-based LIDAR capable of discriminating bio-aerosols from natural atmospheric aerosols and interferents at ranges up to 10 km. Commercialization of the proposed technology will include: the productization of compact OPO technology for sales in to the scientific and remote sensing community, and direct sales of OPO-based LIDARs to the US government and allied countries for support of their existing efforts to achieve readily deployable standoff biological agent detection capability.