Our ability to detect and identify chemical and biological signals of interest is critical for security at home and abroad. While optical spectroscopy is a valuable tool in the laboratory, current technologies lack the sensitivity and broad spectral coverage needed to detect and distinguish among agents of interest given ubiquitous, dynamic background signals generated by common components in the atmosphere.
The SCOUT program is developing optical frequency comb technologies across the spectral range from ultraviolet to terahertz, including fundamental development of new chip-scale sources and more applied development and testing of larger sources for long-range plume detection. SCOUT technologies will provide the foundations to develop capabilities that ultimately enable simultaneous, rapid detection of chemical or biological agents with accurate background subtraction for use in realistic (non-laboratory) environments.
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