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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

ASSESSMENT OF MILLIMETER-WAVE AND TERAHERTZ TECHNOLOGY FOR DETECTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF CONCEALED EXPLOSIVES AND WEAPONS

Committee on Assessment of Security Technologies for Transportation

National Materials Advisory Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract No. DTFA03-99-C-00006 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Transportation Security Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

A limited number of copies of this report are available from the National Materials Advisory Board, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Keck WS932, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 334-3505 or (202) 334-3718; Internet, http://www.nas.edu/nmab.

Additional copies of this report are available from the

National Academies Press,

500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800)624-6242 or (202)334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

International Standard Book Number-10 0-309-10469-6

International Standard Book Number-13 978-0-309-10469-2

Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.


The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.


www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

COMMITTEE ON ASSESSMENT OF SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES FOR TRANSPORTATION

JAMES F. O’BRYON, Chair,

The O’Bryon Group

SANDRA L. HYLAND, Vice Chair,

Tokyo Electron Technology Center America

CHERYL A. BITNER,

Pioneer UAV, Inc.

DONALD E. BROWN,

University of Virginia

JOHN B. DALY,1 Consultant,

Arlington, Virginia

COLIN G. DRURY,

State University of New York, Buffalo

PATRICK GRIFFIN,

Sandia National Laboratories

JIRI JANATA,2 

Georgia Institute of Technology

HARRY E. MARTZ, JR.,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

RICHARD McGEE,

Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground (retired)

RICHARD L. ROWE,3 

SafeView (retired)

H. BRUCE WALLACE,

MMW Concepts LLC

Staff

GARY FISCHMAN, Study Director (from June 2006)

JAMES KILLIAN, Study Director (until June 2006)

EMILY ANN MEYER, Study Director (from November 2006)

TERI G. THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator

1

Dr. Daly passed away in April 2006.

2

Dr. Janata resigned from the committee in April 2006.

3

Mr. Rowe recused himself from all dealings with this report due to a potential conflict of interest.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD

KATHARINE G. FRASE, Chair,

IBM

LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, Vice Chair, Consultant,

Chevy Chase, Maryland

JOHN ALLISON,

Ford Motor Company

PAUL BECHER,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

CHERYL R. BLANCHARD,

Zimmer, Inc.

EVERETT E. BLOOM,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired)

BARBARA D. BOYAN,

Georgia Institute of Technology

L. CATHERINE BRINSON,

Northwestern University

DIANNE CHONG,

The Boeing Company

PAUL CITRON,

Medtronic, Inc. (retired)

FIONA DOYLE,

University of California, Berkeley

SOSSINA M. HAILE,

California Institute of Technology

CAROL A. HANDWERKER,

Purdue University

ELIZABETH HOLM,

Sandia National Laboratories

ANDREW T. HUNT,

nGimat Company

DAVID W. JOHNSON, JR.,

Stevens Institute of Technology

FRANK E. KARASZ,

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

CONILEE G. KIRKPATRICK,

HRL Laboratories

TERRY LOWE,

Los Alamos National Laboratory

KENNETH H. SANDHAGE,

Georgia Institute of Technology

LINDA SCHADLER,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK,

GE Aircraft Engines

JAMES C. SEFERIS,

University of Washington

SHARON L. SMITH,

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Staff

GARY FISCHMAN, Director

MICHAEL MOLONEY, Senior Staff Officer

EMILY ANN MEYER, Staff Officer

TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator

HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

Preface

The Committee on Assessment of Security Technologies for Transportation was appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) in response to a request from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a study of technologies to protect the nation’s air transportation system from attacks by terrorists and others of like mind. The committee judged that the best way to provide a timely response would be to produce a series of short reports on promising technologies, focusing on specific topics of greatest interest to the sponsor. This is the third of four such topical reports, all of which focus on air transportation security.1 The committee believes that the air transportation

1

The first report was Opportunities to Improve Airport Passenger Screening with Mass Spectrometry (The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2004). The second report was Defending the U.S. Air Transportation System Against Chemical and Biological Threats (The National Academies

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

environment provides a test case for the deployment of security technologies that could subsequently be used to protect other transportation modes as well.

This report focuses on the currently maturing millimeter-wavelength and terahertz imaging and spectroscopy technologies that offer promise in meeting aviation security requirements through airport screening. The millimeter-wave through the terahertz region is now the subject of aggressive university research driven by the availability of short-pulse generators, which produce a wide spectrum of frequencies through this region. The committee believes that millimeter-wave/terahertz technology has potential for contributing to overall aviation security but that its limitations must be recognized. In light of some common misconceptions, the committee decided that this report should briefly and systematically address expectations, both real and fictional, and help bring into focus cases in which this technology has promise and instances in which it offers no potential benefit as an antiterrorism technology. Additionally, although there are many potential long-range uses for this technology, the committee’s assessment focuses primarily on the near-term uses to interdict imminent threats.

Historically the millimeter band extended from 30 GHz to 300 GHz and the submillimeter band extended from 300GHz to 3 THz. In the current literature the terahertz region has subsumed the submillimeter band and extended it to 10 THz. In this report the term “submillimeter” is used only to be consistent with historical citations.

The committee acknowledges the speakers from government and industry who took the time to share their ideas and experiences in briefings at the committee’s meetings. The committee would like to offer a special thanks to two of its members, Richard McGee and H. Bruce Wallace, who were the major contributors to the writing of this report. Former committee member Thomas S. Hartwick, chair through May 31, 2005, also greatly assisted the work of the current committee through his participation in many of its activities. Finally, the committee acknowledges the contributions to the completion of this report from National Materials Advisory Board director Gary Fischman and NRC staff members James Killian and Teri Thorowgood.


James F. O’Bryon, Chair

Sandra L. Hyland, Vice Chair

Committee on Assessment of Security Technologies for Transportation

Press, Washington, D.C., 2006). The fourth and final topic to be addressed will be fusion of data to improve airport security.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Eliot D. Cohen, EBCO Technology Advising, Inc.,

Angela Gittens, HNTB,

Erich N. Grossman, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder,

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

Eddie Jacobs, U.S. Army, Research Development and Engineering Command,

Samuel H. Moseley, Jr., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,

Andrew Poggio, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and

James C. Wiltse, Georgia Tech Research Institute.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Steve Berry, University of Chicago. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

Figures and Tables

FIGURES

1-1

 

Generic airport diagram showing various airport spaces and some likely sites for attacks,

 

8

1-2

 

The three regions of the electromagnetic spectrum considered in this report,

 

12

2-1

 

Antenna resolution for an imaging system with a 2 meter aperture,

 

19

2-2

 

Antenna diameter required for an imaging system to achieve the resolution of the human eye,

 

20

2-3

 

Atmospheric attenuation under various environmental conditions from 10 GHz to 10,000 GHz,

 

21

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

2-4

 

Transmission measurements through various clothing materials,

 

22

2-5

 

Measurements made with millimeter-wavelength/terahertz imaging systems of transmission through various building materials,

 

23

2-6

 

Intercomparison of published explosives phonon bands spectra conducted by Ohio State University,

 

25

3-1

 

Available solid-state sources,

 

29

3-2

 

State-of-the-art radio-frequency sources (circa 2003),

 

30

3-3

 

Power levels available from the various devices produced by Virginia Diodes,

 

31

3-4

 

Power levels available for sources in the region from 500 GHz to 2,500 GHz,

 

32

3-5

 

Heterodyne receiver noise temperatures (SIS, HEB, and Schottky) versus frequency in the millimeter-wavelength/terahertz range,

 

35

3-6

 

Predicted range to identify a concealed weapon using a single scanning spot sensor,

 

38

4-1

 

SafeView security screening portal,

 

47

4-2

 

Agilent Technologies millimeter-wave imaging system based on a reflective, confocal millimeter-wave lens,

 

49

5-1

 

Millimeter-wave image—Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,

 

56

TABLES

2-1

 

Examples of Object Emissivity,

 

17

3-1

 

Summary of Trends in Phenomenology and Component Technology,

 

37

3-2

 

Parameters Used for Systems Analysis of Standoff Imaging Sensor,

 

37

4-1

 

Reflectivity of Basic Explosives and Human Flesh,

 

44

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

In Memoriam

The members of the Committee on Assessment of Security Technologies for Transportation are deeply saddened by the recent loss of one of the committee’s members. John B. Daly had a distinguished career serving the nation in a broad range of positions involving transportation security and technology, and he was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations for his outstanding contributions to the field. He was appointed to this committee in 2005 and continued to serve with distinction until his illness no longer permitted his participation. He was a hardworking professional of the highest integrity. We dedicate this report to his memory as a token of our appreciation for his contributions.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11826.
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The security of the U.S. commercial aviation system has been a growing concern since the 1970's when the hijacking of aircraft became a serious problem. Over that period, federal aviation officials have been searching for more effective ways for non-invasive screening of passengers, luggage, and cargo to detect concealed explosives and weapons. To assist in this effort, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked the NRC for a study of emerging screening technologies. This report--the third of four--focuses on currently maturing millimeter-wavelength/terahertz imaging and spectroscopy technologies that offer promise in meeting aviation security requirements. The report provides a description of the basic operation of these imaging systems, an assessment of their component technologies, an analysis of various system concepts, and an implementation strategy for deployment of millimeter-wavelength/terahertz technology screening systems.

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