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Proceedings Paper

Noninvasive detection of weapons of mass destruction using terahertz radiation
Author(s): Matthew B. Campbell; Edwin J. Heilweil
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Paper Abstract

The growing and immediate threat of biological and chemical weapons has placed urgency on the development of chemical and biological warfare agent (CWA/BWA) screening devices. Specifically, the ability to detect CWA/BWA prior to deployment is paramount to mitigating the threat without exposing individuals to its effects. SPARTA, Inc. and NIST are currently investigating the feasibility of using far-infrared radiation, or terahertz (THz, 1 THz = 1012 Hz) radiation, to non-invasively detect biological and chemical agents, explosives and drugs/narcotics inside sealed containers. Small-to-medium sized molecules (3-100 atoms) in gas, liquid and solid phases consistently exhibit identifiable spectral features in the far-IR portion of the spectrum. Many compounds associated with weapons of mass destruction are made up of molecules of this size. The THz portion of the spectrum lies between visible light and radio waves, allowing for partial transmission of 0.3-10.0 THz (30-1000 μm, 10-330 cm-1) light through most common materials. Therefore, transmission measurements of THz light can potentially be used to non-invasively detect the presence of CWA/BWA, explosives and drugs in the pathway of a THz radiation beam.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 July 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 5070, Terahertz for Military and Security Applications, (29 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.504297
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew B. Campbell, SPARTA, Inc. (United States)
Edwin J. Heilweil, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5070:
Terahertz for Military and Security Applications
R. Jennifer Hwu; Dwight L. Woolard, Editor(s)

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