NevadaNano (Nevada Nanotech Systems, Inc.) develops and manufactures MEMS-based sensor modules and subsystems for a diverse array of government and commercial applications. Our products are used by system integrator partners and by system manufacturers who benefit from the unique characteristics of our sensors – namely small size, low cost, unattended operation, and the ability to detect a broad range of threats with a single, standard sensor configuration.
The Company was founded in 2004 to commercialize a unique sensor technology developed at the University of Nevada, Reno. In December 2004, the Company completed a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program for DARPA demonstrating the feasibility of a trace detection system using microcantilever sensors. In this program, NNTS designed, modeled, built and successfully tested a prototype sensor system for measuring the concentrations of unlawful or hazardous materials in shipping containers. In February 2006, NNTS was awarded a Phase II SBIR contract to continue the development of the sensor system with testing successfully completed at the Nevada Test Site in the summer of 2007. In July 2008, NNTS embarked on a Phase III DOD-funded program where a form, fit and function prototype system for shipping container threat detection will be fully developed, built, and tested.
The system currently under development includes a radiation sensor in addition to our proprietary solution for chemical, explosive, and bio-pathogen sensing. As such, it is uniquely suited to the requirements of the TRUST Program recently initiated by the Department of Homeland Security. This program will implement threat detection for all 10 million containers traveling to the U.S. each year, representing an opportunity for approximately 2.2 million sensor systems to be deployed, monitored and maintained worldwide.
While our initial DOD-sponsored work has been mostly focused on chemical and explosive threat detection, the Company is uniquely positioned to address a broad range of sensor applications. Vapors from bio-agents have been successfully detected, as have chemicals representative of illicit drugs and human respiration. The greatest impact from chemical, explosive, and bio-sensors will only be felt when they can be deployed ubiquitously in large numbers and over wide areas. This will only happen when sensors are small and affordable, can sense a very broad range of substances, and are robust enough to operate un-attended for long periods of time. The core element of NevadaNano’s sensor modules and systems is manufactured on a solid-state, MEMS technology offering small size, low cost, and high reliability. The sensing element is an array of MEMS structures that are not only self-activating and self-sensing, they are also self-cleaning and self-calibrating, thus enabling unattended deployment for extended periods. Using proprietary materials as well as unique sensing methods and analysis techniques, a single sensor configuration is able to detect hundreds of diverse types of vapors and particles. These advantages make our Self-Sensing ArrayTM solution the leading candidate to fulfill the vision of ubiquitous sensor deployment for both homeland security and commercial applications.
About Shipping Container Threats
Since the 1970s, shipping containers have become the foundation of the global economy with 15 million containers in circulation worldwide and 10 million container arrivals in the United States every year carrying $500 billion of goods. Because they are so critical to the U.S. economy and also difficult to inspect, containers are a likely vector, or carrier, for weapons of mass destruction, dirty bombs, chemical and biological weapons, illicit materials such as drugs, and people (stowaways), as well as naturally occurring bio-threats that could have disastrous effects on the US population and agriculture industry. Experts expect an attack to occur by the 2012 timeframe and congress has mandated that containers be inspected by 2012.