Ann Arbor-based Advanced Photonix Inc. (NYSE Amex: API) said Thursday that the federal Department of Homeland Security awarded API subsidiary, Picometrix LLC a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract.

The $100,000, six month contract is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating a hand-held time-domain terahertz inspection wand with other sensor technologies to create a multi-sensor based approach for detection of concealed threats.

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“This contract is another indication of our strengthening relationship with the DHS, which first began in 2004 with feasibility demonstrations for checked baggage screening utilizing our T-Ray 2000 platform,” said API chairman and CEO Richard Kurtz. “Our relationship with DHS continued in 2006 with funding to demonstrate the feasibility of replacing worrisome nuclear gauges, which are used extensively in industrial process and quality control, utilizing our non threatening T-Ray 4000 product platform.”

A key capability of the TD-THz inspection wand is the ability to detect concealed objects on the body of a person without the need for imaging and its associated privacy concerns. This feasibility study is the first step in combining various sensor technologies together into one device to give the DHS a viable solution to the very complex problem of threat detection.

This Phase I contract is synergistic with the $1.8 million contract recently announced to develop a TD-THz based anomaly detector for the security market.

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Kurtz said the company believes the $4.5 billion-a-year security device market “holds significant long term growth opportunity for our T-Ray technology.”

With successful completion of Phase I, a Phase II follow-on contract will be discussed to develop and demonstrate a prototype multi-sensor wand for threat detection based upon the company’s existing T-Ray product platform. A successful Phase II would then lead to Phase III DHS system testing and deployment for threat detection.

Terahertz radiation, little understood and hard to generate before the 1990s, occupies a space on the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light. It has potential applications in a wide variety of disciplines, from materials testing to medical diagnostics security checkpoints, because it can see through clothing and even the top layers of human flesh — but it doesn’t pack the damaging radioactive punch of X-rays.

API designs, builds and sells optoelectronic products, high-speed optical receivers and terahertz instrumentation for telecom, homeland security, military, medical and industrial markets. More at

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