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Synthetic aPerture Interferometric raDiometer for sEcurity in cRitical infraStructures

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SPIDERS (Synthetic aPerture Interferometric raDiometer for sEcurity in cRitical infraStructures)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2018-05-31

"Today’s technologies for scanning people and detecting potential harmful objects or materials still require bulky technologies and infrastructures that usually slow down or block the flow of people coming in and out of a building or a structure. While this might still be seen as acceptable for specific military facilities with low level of check-in, possible threats to the population in transport hubs such as airports, train stations or specific facilities such as power plants or prison administrations, would require more adapted technologies, more transparent, with passive and stand-off scanning and respecting ethical issues of no personal body imaging. Recent terrorist attacks are calling for adapted measures that could detect harmful or prohibited objects in real time without generating bolts in people transit.
Based on a technology studied in the FP7 project EFFISEC (Grant #217991) that finished in January 2014, the French company MC2 aims at developing an innovation system that will transform the protection of EU infrastructures into more freely flowing processes with faster scanning, adapted ethics-respecting imaging, passive detection without harmful waves and stand-off scanning, with more transparent equipment.
In the SPIDERS project, MC2-Technologies will build from its experience in the field of security, from its staff and equipment resources and its existing and growing commercial network a new innovative solution to meet a transforming market and that will answer to the following industrial and scientific objectives:
MC2-Technologies will develop from its existing MM-Imager technology, a new passive millimeter wave system working in real time with a large field of view allowing to scan at the same time several persons in 1 to 10 m distance range by keeping a good resolution. This new technology will allow to reduce the size and weight of the complete system in order to be deployed for applications as railway station, metro, terminal airports, stadium, nuclear power plants and so on. The SPIDERS technology will offer capabilities of automatic hidden objects detection in real time and will be capable to detect a large spectrum of materials solid (metal or not), liquid, powder, explosive, drug…

The main Industrial objectives are:
– Development of camera real-time treatment adapted to a moving environment
- Pilot demonstration with evaluation by an External Advisory Board constituted
- Demonstration show for other usages at trade fairs
– Competitive cost

These industrial objectives for the two-year project will be supported by scientific and technical advancements.

Scientific objectives:
– Millimetric wave range (100-200 GHz) frequency definition and analysis with regards to the aimed usage
– In order to tackle any ethical issue, imaging and vision treatment to deal with restricted body visualisation
– In order to reach a near real-time process, 2 to 10 frames per second scanning, depending on required sensitivity
– In order to be more competitive and reach IO4, study, development and integration of time reversal technology

The objective of the first period is to develop a simplified millimeter wave imaging system based on only three receivers mounted on linear motion systems. This first prototype was dedicated to study several parameters and determine the best configuration to develop the final system

During this first period, MC2-Technologies has designed and manufactured the following elements of the simplified systems:
- Three specific Antennas with a low loss transition
- Three low noise and stable millimeter wave receiving chains
- A study concerning the time reversal technique
- A digital acquisition board working up to 10Gb/s
- A technology of linear motion system has been developed and the manufacturing is on going

The three complete receiving chains have been developed but with at least 6 months late. This delay is related to the availability of some MMIC and especially on the IQ downconverters and x8 multipliers. Indeed, the first delivered MMIC were out of specifications and were not usable for our applications. At this frequency, the performances of such MMICs are strongly related to the pinch off voltage of the transistors. To avoid that, the designs have been modified in order to counterbalance the pinch off voltage variations by adding a specific bias circuit.

This deviation has induced a delay on the manufacturing of the linear motion systems. Indeed, the design of the carriage part of the rails supporting the receivers could have not been realized since the receiver architecture was not fixed. Now, the three receivers have been manufactured and the linear motion system is under manufacturing and will be available end of January 2017.

At the present date, the project is delayed of about 7 months.
MC2-technologies has already entered the global security screening market and more specifically the millimeter wave technology markets. Indeed, the company is marketing in Europa and Asia its existing imaging technology (MMImager) dedicated to hidden objects detection for security applications. Since the last terrorist attacks in Europa, the demand for such technologies has drastically increased all over the world.
In the SPIDERS proposal, MC2 has provided the elements of a detailed market study from Markets & Markets that details the potential business growth per activity sector and geographical zone. The expect impacts of the SPIDERS project were based on the generated business plan and model from this study. At the present date, we can confirm our initial expectations and even the size of the market could be greatly increased due to the high level of terrorist attacks. Indeed, in the proposal, we mainly focused our business on checkpoint application for airport and prison. Since the last terrorist attacks, new applications have emerged like the securing of schools, maul, rail way station, airport terminals. In other terms, our initial predictions seem to have been underestimated.
At the present date, 80% of MC2-Technologies turnover is done in China which represents a great market with a lot of business opportunities but also some risks of copy. To reduce the risk and stay a leader, MC2-Technologies must innovate by always providing new technologies at ahead.
Up to a couple of months, China authorizes the use of imaging systems based on active technologies and even based on RX. Recently, after first studies and also with the pressure of Chinese people, the chines government has taken a radical decision by prohibiting the use of any active imaging systems. Therefore, this decision opens a large door to the Chinese market to MC2-Technologies thanks to its passive technology and increases its market shares. In order to be more efficient on the Chinese market, MC2-Technologies has recently signed cooperation agreements.
Thanks to the current imaging systems named MMImager developed in the frame of the EFFISEC FP7 project and the support of the French Army, MC2-Technologies intends to occupy the Chinese Market. Once the SPIDERS technology will be available, the company will be well present on this market.
In September 2016, the passive imaging technology MMImager provided by MC2-Technologies has been used for all the security checkpoints during the G20 events in Hangzhou. The performances provided by MMimager have been greatly remarked by the Chinese Authorities