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6 November 2007


Spire receives Army STTR contract to develop room-temperature terahertz light source

Spire Corp of Bedford, MA, USA has received a $99,724 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program award ‘Resonant Tunneling Diode for High-Power Room-Temperature Terahertz Emission’ from the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM).

The new, miniature solid-state device has the potential to provide more than 10mW of continuous terahertz (sub-millimeter wave) light at room temperature, which is currently only obtainable from much more complex, larger and expensive vacuum devices.

Terahertz light is useful for defense, biomedical, and scientific applications, and has been shown to be capable of detecting hidden weapons and explosives. Spire will team with the University of Virginia, and will specify and analyze various candidate semiconductor material structures and specify required experimental methods. A subsequent phase of the program will produce a prototype terahertz oscillator.

“This program is of great interest and importance to Spire because such miniature terahertz sources are critically needed for defense, medical and industrial applications,” says the firm’s chairman and CEO Roger G. Little. “They can be readily manufactured in our Bandwidth Semiconductor foundry [in Hudson, NH], and their applications in biotechnology are in line with our Biomedical division's interest in offering this new modality for non-invasive cancer detection and other medical imaging concepts,” he adds.

See related item:

Spire receives $1m SBIR contract for high-power red diode lasers

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