NJIT announces new bioterror fighting technology

Officials at the New Jersey Institute of Technology said they continue to move forward in the war on terror, according to a NJ.com news report.

The Newark-based campus was selected as the site of the New Jersey Homeland Security Technology Systems Center in 2004 and, since that time, researchers have taken an all hazards approach to their research. The facility is one of the top anti-terrorism research centers in the country, with annual federal funding at approximately $100 million.

“High-tech, low-tech, we can’t afford to overlook any possibility in dealing with mass casualty events,” center director Donald Sebastian told NJ.com. “You need multiple methods of detection and response. Terrorism comes in many forms; you have to see, smell, taste and analyze everything.”

Sebastian said the institute has developed a “multi-system approach” that includes a variety of technologies ranging from communications software to advance detection systems.

Another piece of technology NJIT researchers have been working with are terahertz rays. Terahertz technology was isolated about 15 years ago, but its uses until recently have been limited.

Terahertz waves operate similarly to X-rays and microwaves but are on a different bandwidth.

NJIT physicist John Federici told NJ.com that one of the advantages of terahertz technology is that it can scan objects and people without any radiation threat. The rays, however, are still capable of detecting hidden materials like explosives and chemicals in amounts as small as parts per billion.

Federici’s team is also developing a system that uses a digital video camera to read the scanning results, allowing viewers to see through barriers such as packaging, clothing, shoes and pill coatings, according to the report.