A Block Engineering subsidiary will continue to develop a system that works to detect explosives and toxic chemical threats under a $10.7 million Intelligence Advanced Research Programs Activity project.
IARPA selected Block MEMS to move forward with Phase II of the agency’s Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures effort through a competitive down-selection process, the company said Monday.
Block CEO Petros Kotidis said he believes the SILMARILS technology currently in development has potential to guard soft targets against explosives, detect chemical warfare agents and survey contaminated ground and surfaces.
Anish Goyal, Block vice president of technology and principal investigator for the SILMARILS program, said the company’s efforts under the project’s first phase represented a step toward meeting the primary objective to detect explosives and chemical threats at a standoff distance of 30 to 50 meters.
Goyal added the program seeks to address standoff trace detection requirements within the intelligence community as well as the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
Under Phase I, the company helped develop a quantum cascade laser-based benchtop system and a chemical detection algorithm that integrate data processing, light/material interaction simulation and anticipated detected signature modeling techniques.
Block demonstrated a capacity to trace explosives and detect threats on different surfaces at a standoff distance of up to five meters.
The Air Force Research Laboratory manages the SILMARILS program for IARPA.