What a ride this has been. First, the maiden flight on July 3rd, 2016 went well (see THz Takes Flight), then Bakman Technologies won a $225k Phase I NSF grant, next the results were published in IEEE Sensors Letters and we gave a talk at Photonics West 2018. Now we were just awarded a two year Phase II NSF Grant for $725k to continue our development of A Spectroscopic THz Sensor for Mixed Gas Analysis and Air Pollution Monitoring. Wow! I never thought this would happen.
The reason that THz spectroscopy is finding legs in this application is because it is a useful tool for gas analysis. Rotational transitions for a variety of molecules occur in this frequency domain and these transitions are specific to each molecule. When the gas is illuminated with THz radiation, the rotational transitions show up as absorptions at very specific frequencies. Under the right conditions the absorptions may be used to measure the presence and concentration of different molecules in a gas sample. Another great thing is that THz spectroscopy is not gas specific, it can detect the different contaminants simultaneously.
Over the next two years I will be working on proving that the new system that is designed for the UAV application will have the sensitivities that are required for doing ppm detection of different sulfur containing pollutants. This is the goal.... and it is gonna be a tough one. If any of you with firmware and programing experience are in the Van Nuys area looking for work then reach out to me - I could use some help! I need someone local though because it is hardware based work.
I would like to thank everyone who helped or even offered to help.