Block MEMS Awarded Multi-Million Dollar Contract to Find Buried Explosives
Marlborough, MA – January 3, 2013
Block MEMS has been awarded a major, multi-million dollar contract funded by the Army's Joint Improvised Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). Under the contract Block will adapt its LaserScan™ spectrometer to detect from a distance recently dug up soil, which on dirt roads is a possible indicator of a buried explosive hazard, also called an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
Daniel J. Cavicchio, Jr., Block's Executive Chairman, commented: "This contract brings our total product development awards over the past few months from the Department of Defense to over $7.8 million. Awards have come from multiple branches of DOD all related to Block's unique capabilities to detect substances from a standoff distance. These capabilities include Block's LaserScan product, which uses widely tunable quantum cascade lasers, and our PORTHOS (TM), which uses a compact rugged Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer. We are pleased that DOD has expressed its confidence in Block's new products."
Petros Kotidis, Block's CEO commented: "Buried IEDs have been a major cause of death to our troops at our theaters of operations. Although techniques exist to find buried objects, these techniques can often be fooled. Our LaserScan will provide the soldier with another important tool to avoid triggering these IEDs. This new contract will enable us to miniaturize and ruggedize to military specs the LaserScan so it can be used by dismounted soldiers. Eventually this product will also be mounted on ground vehicles, including small robots, to aid route clearance operations and protect military convoys."
To support JIEDDO, the contract will be managed by the Army's Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, Ft. Belvoir, VA, and the Sentel Corporation, Alexandria, VA. The miniaturized LaserScan, equipped with different recognition software, will also have wide applicability in a number of commercial applications, such as pharmaceutical cleaning validation, analysis of surface layers, detection of residual silicone, oils and lubricants, real-time, on-line monitoring of heterogeneous catalysis and tribology.
About Block MEMS, LLC
Block MEMS, LLC is an engineering and development company focusing on the R&D of high performance Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) and FTIR spectrometers. Following the success of its commercial-off-the-shelf passive FTIR products, such as MCAD and PORTHOS, Block MEMS has applied its extensive knowledge of spectroscopy and chemical detection towards the development of its high performance QCL based spectrometers, including LaserScan™. LaserScan has attracted high interest from commercial customers as well as from the Department of Defense for detection of explosives and liquid/solid chemical warfare agents. In addition, Block MEMS is developing a revolutionary MEMS-based, miniaturized spectrometer, ChemPen™, which is a low cost, FTIR chemical gas detector the size of a fountain pen.
About Block Engineering, LLC
Founded in 1956, Block Engineering, LLC is a leading manufacturer and marketer of high performance Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) and FTIR spectrometers for commercial, industrial military and government customers. Block Engineering is manufacturing and selling a line of unique, widely tunable, high sensitivity QCL-based spectrometers, including the LaserScan Analyzer, for applications ranging from non-contact pharmaceutical cleaning validation, control of manufacturing operations and verification of surface conditions in a variety of industrial processes as well as for detection of explosives and liquid/solid chemical warfare agents. Block's Mobile Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) system is a fixed site, passive FTIR spectrometer offered in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corp. Block's PORTHOS™ is a portable, passive FTIR spectrometer system that remotely detects chemical threats from over several miles away and protects against chemical warfare agents and weapons of mass destruction.
Block MEMS and Block Engineering are affiliated through common ownership and share headquarters in Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA.