TeraSec and the European Security Research Programme PASR

One of the fundamental roles of government is to help ensure the security of its citizens. Studies show the threat of terrorism, organised crime, and natural disasters are among Europeans’ worst fears. Making Europe more secure for its citizens while increasing its industrial competitiveness is the goal of European Security Research. By co-operating and coordinating efforts on a Europe-wide scale, the EU can better understand and respond to risks in a constantly changing world. The Preparatory Action on ‘Enhancement of the European Industrial Potential in the field of Security Research 2004-2006’ (PASR) constitutes the Commission’s contribution to the wider EU agenda for addressing key security challenges facing Europe and her partners. It focuses in particular on the development of a security research agenda to bridge the gap between civil research, as supported by EC Framework Programmes, and national and intergovernmental defence programmes.

In response to the first call for proposals in the frame of PASR 2004 a proposal “Active Terahertz Imaging for Security (TeraSec)” was submitted by a consortium of 14 European research organizations, universities and industrial partners. The proposal was selected for funding in July 2004. The key parameters of the project are:

  • Project in the frame of PASR 2004
  • 179 applications in PASR 2004
  • TeraSec selected for funding in July 2004 (one out of 6 funded projects)
  • Duration: 24 months (01.01.2005 -31.12.2006)
  • Mission: Protection against terrorism
  • Coordination: German Aerospace Center (DLR)

The TeraSec mission can be summarized as follows

Suicide bombers and anonymous mail attacks have become serious threats world wide. Since X-ray is difficult to apply for personnel scans due to radiation safety regulations, new technologies for remote detection of threats are required. Also fast and reliable technologies are needed to detect threats hidden in mail or similar. Due to their unique properties terahertz (THz) rays offer an alternative inspection method which can cope with these new challenges. The goal of this project is to improve homeland security by developing a new technology which will allow detecting threats, explosives, pathogens and chemicals hidden by a person or inside an object such as letters or luggage. The new technology is based on THz radiation and advanced sensor concepts. In combination with existing sensors this will lead to an increased level of security at public places for example airports. This new class of sensors will support governments, agencies and public authorities in their effort to protect the public against terrorism.


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