ANN ARBOR, Mich., 27 April 2012. Advanced Photonix, Inc. (NYSE Amex: API) announced it has been awarded a follow on 21 month contract from the Air Force for $1.5M to provide terahertz process control instrumentation to support production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).The contract is a commercialization pilot program (CPP) award to ensure the quality of specialty stealth coatings applied by Northrop Grumman to a sub-system on the F-35. The purpose of the CPP is to accelerate the transition of Small Business Innovation Research funded technologies to Phase III production and deployment purchases by the DoD.
Previous Phase I and II contracts demonstrated feasibility in the lab and in Northrop Grumman's facility. This contract funds further application and system development culminating in delivering two production units for deployment on the manufacturing floor by the end of 2013. Once completed, the system will consist of the T-Ray 4000 control unit which is connected to a miniature terahertz (THz) transceiver via an umbilical up to 100 meters in length mounted onto an existing robot arm within a paint booth. The fiber-optic coupled THz technology employed features small, freely positionable, lightweight sensors. A hand-held version that would allow measurement on cured coatings without the robot is also planned.
The proposed system and software will function as a real-time sensor for applying the sprayed-on stealth coating on the F-35 for the Air Force and can also be used for other coatings of interest to the Army and Navy.
Terahertz radiation can be used to image through materials yielding high spatial resolution and has the ability to resolve both time and amplitude information. It is safe for humans and can provide spectroscopic information, as well as produce images.
The T-Ray 4000 features interchangeable fiber-coupled heads that deliver a picosecond duration TD-THz pulse that allows high-speed scanned images to be produced.