ViaLogy will base long-range explosives detector on ORNL technology

Mar. 29, 2007 — The US subsidiary of ViaLogy PLC in Altadena, CA, and UT Battelle LLC of Oak Ridge, TN (which manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory), have completed an agreement granting exclusive commercialization rights for dual-beam Reverse Photo- Acoustic Spectrometer (REPAS) technology. ViaLogy will combine REPAS technology with ViaLogy’s advanced weak signal processing to enable long-range detection of covert and camouflaged buildings where explosives may be manufactured and stored. The hand-held chemical detection device is also expected to be able to identify minute amounts of dangerous compounds being carried by people.

Dr Thomas Thundat, a Corporate Fellow and Head of ORNL’s Nanoscale Science and Device’s Group, has demonstrated the potential to achieve ultra-long range detection of various explosives such as TNT, PETN (one of the explosive materials in Semtex plastic explosives), and RDX, a major component of many plastic bonded explosives used in nuclear weapons. ViaLogy plans to combine its patented weak-signal technology, Quantum Resonance Interferometry (QRI), with REPAS to build a device effective at distances of at least 100 metres.

Long-range detection of CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosive) materials is an exceptionally challenging problem and an extremely high priority in the global war on terrorism. Accurate identification of persons and facilities in cluttered urban environments involved in suspected bomb-making activities is critical. The recent increase of terrorists using radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (“IEDs”) and vehicle bombs has lead to significant losses in human lives and building damage.

According to ViaLogy, current systems endanger both security personnel and civilians. The company aims to create a portable or mobile platform-mounted system that can be used to rapidly scan human or building surfaces from a secure distance. Any detected signature will immediately trigger actionable intelligence that can be used to identify, observe, monitor, track suspects, and/or neutralize personnel and facilities at a distance.

Dr. Tom George, ViaLogy’s Director for Product Development and Nanofabrication, will be leading the technology integration project. Dr. George previously headed the MEMS Sensors and Technology group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

ViaLogy will work with manufacturers and system integrators to fast track production, certification and distribution of the ViaLogy REPAS systems.


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