The SIGMA Program in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is seeking novel approaches to low cost, high efficiency, packaged radiation detectors for identifying hidden threats, ranging from special nuclear materials (SNM) to radiological sources.
Direct measurement of gamma and neutron emission remains one of the few definitive methods of detection and identification of such threats. A common element of multiple detection concepts-of-operations (CONOPs) for countering nuclear terrorism is the need for significantly lower cost and more capable radiation detectors.
To better meet this need, DARPA is soliciting innovative ideas for both personal (e.g., belt mounted, pocket-size, worn) and large area radiation detectors that will allow an order of magnitude reduction in cost per unit while significantly increasing detection capability compared to the current state-of-the art.
Revolutionary ideas at low technological readiness levels (TRLs) are encouraged, but proposers must lay out a path for rapid evaluation and development of the concept, along with a potential path for scale-up production.
The Program will be conducted in two phases. The initial phase (Phase 1) consists of R&D and will develop core technical component capabilities, define the design parameters for the detectors, construct detector prototypes, and establish the base manufacturing capabilities that allow for the production of devices at target performance, price, and quantity points. The subsequent phase (Phase 2) will involve refinement of manufacturability and delivery of devices at the target price level for large-scale system and CONOPs testing.
Success of the Program is envisioned to increase year-on-year detector market demand by one to two orders of magnitude and achieve long-term market availability of detectors at $100 per unit for Personal Detectors and $10,000 per unit for TA 2: Large Detectors, with combined gamma and neutron detection capabilities.
Multiple awards are anticipated under the effort. Further details are available under Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-14-11.