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Spire to Develop Terahertz Laser Technology

Spire's compact terahertz radiation source has broad application to instruments for defense against terrorism, biological agent detection,
DNA structure identification and medical diagnostics.

 

BEDFORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 24, 2004--Terahertz laser structure to be achieved using nano-engineered gallium arsenide-based layers.

Spire Corporation (Nasdaq: SPIR) is developing nano-engineered gallium arsenide layers for fabrication of miniature terahertz lasers under an AFOSR-funded, $99,000 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) project. Spire's compact terahertz radiation source has broad application to instruments for defense against terrorism, and biological agent detection, as well as DNA structure identification and a number of medical diagnostics. Demonstrated success on this Phase I program can lead to a Phase II program of as much as $500,000.

Spire's quantum cascade laser device consists of hundreds of nanometer-thick gallium arsenide-based layers. The laser itself is to be the size of a pencil tip and is expected to be extremely reliable and inexpensive. It will produce terahertz radiation that occurs between the infrared and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This radiation is strongly absorbed by water and tissue, but is transmitted by most other, non-metal materials, making it possible to penetrate clothing or packaging materials, to detect hidden weapons, explosives, or biological materials. Terahertz radiation has already been demonstrated to be capable of revealing hidden tooth decay and early skin cancers. It can also identify complex DNA and other molecular structures by looking at their unique terahertz spectral signatures. Since terahertz radiation has even lower energy than visible light, human safety issues are not expected to be of concern.

The project involves the design of a new, gallium arsenide based nano-engineered epitaxial wafer structure that can be cost effectively produced in large quantities. Epitaxial wafers based on a new design, carried out in collaboration with Professor Shun-Lien Chuang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, are being produced in Spire's wholly owned subsidiary, Bandwidth Semiconductor. This Phase I contract is expected to result in a demonstration of growth feasibility. Bandwidth plans to offer such wafers for commercial sale. Spire also expects to receive complementary terahertz development support from the Army and DARPA.

Roger Little, President and CEO of Spire Corporation, said, "We are pleased to be advancing our terahertz technology, which can contribute to the nation's defense against terrorism, and greatly broaden the diagnostic capabilities of the biomedical community."

Spire Corporation provides products and services based upon a common technology platform to the biomedical, solar energy and optoelectronics industries worldwide.

Certain matters described in this news release may be forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risk of dependence on market growth, competition and dependence on government agencies and other third parties for funding contract research and services, as well as other factors described in the Company's Form 10-KSB filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contacts
Spire Corporation Kurt Linden, 781-275-6000


This story has been adapted from a news release -
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