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"An Innovative, Ultra Low Cost, High Performance, Monolithic Millimeter Wave Imager Module to Increase the Safety of European Citizens" (IMAGINE)
Start date: Jan 1, 2010, End date: May 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Protecting its citizens from terrorism remains a high priority for the EC. Current SOA security procedures for air travel have significantly improved airport security. The need is now to protect the softer, unprotected areas such as mass transportation systems and hubs which are being targeted with devastating effect (London, Madrid). They are largely unprotected since current security systems are too expensive and too slow. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovative new security screening technology that can provide a low cost, rapid ‘walk-by’ screening at normal flow rates. Whilst millimetre-wave (mm-wave) technology is the leading technology, cost is a barrier. The critical part of mm-wave systems is the detector module, at a cost of €1125 per pixel, the imager module accounts for 60% of the overall system cost. At present this high cost is due to the cost of semiconductor material and the cost of assembly and tuning to overcome resonance effects.This proposal will develop an innovative solution to reduce mm-wave module cost down to €150. This is clearly ambitious, but with the innovations below we are confident we can be successful:a) Integrating the LNA & detector stages onto a single semiconductor waferb) Developing GaAs semiconductor wafer using mHEMPT epi-layer instead of pHEMTc) Integrating a novel antenna and waveguide into a low cost, injection moulded liquid crystal polymer (LCP) substrate.This is an extremely challenging project requiring significant scientific knowledge generation and technology development. As an SME we do not have all the in house skills to develop this solution alone and the skills gaps are provided by our RTD performers. Without the research for SME initiative we would not have the financial resources to engage this leading European expertise. The US currently dominates the growing imaging market ($49m, predicted to grow by 1800% in 5 years) which we aim to access for Europe with this project."
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