Standoff ILluminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures (SILMARILS)

Standoff chemical detection is a ubiquitous need across the Intelligence Community (IC) for applications ranging from forensic crime scene analysis to border and facility protection to stockpile and production monitoring. However, current systems do not provide the sensitivity, specificity, and low false-alarm rates that are needed to enable effective use in a cluttered, real-world environment.

The key overarching objective of the SILMARILS program is to not just develop a spectrometer that can produce high-resolution infrared spectra in the laboratory, but to develop a fully integrated system that can identify target chemicals at mission-relevant concentrations in the field with real-world clutter and background. This objective is envisioned to be accomplished through the integrated development of physical spectrometer hardware and detection and discrimination algorithms. Successful offerors must propose a multidisciplinary team that will address all aspects of the program. No partial solutions or pure technology development proposals will be funded.

Primary chemical classes and specific representative examples that are of interest in the SILMARILS program include, but are not limited to:

  1. Explosives: Nitro-based compounds such as TNT and RDX, newer formulations such as acetone peroxide, and home-made explosives such as fertilizer bombs.
  2. Chemical weapons and poisonous or toxic chemicals: Chemical weapons such as sarin or tabun, newer non-traditional agents, and toxic chemicals that may be intentionally or unintentionally released such as hydrogen cyanide or ammonia gas.
  3. Narcotics: Illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, or legal but abused drugs such as Vicodin or hydrocodone.

Secondary targets include compounds associated with the manufacture and deployment of biological agents and nuclear materials. Although the SILMARILS program will not be able to unequivocally detect these species directly, the overall chemical signatures of bioagent weaponization or nuclear enrichment are distinctive.

Agency Contact Information

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

For information contact:

Solicitation Status: CLOSED

Proposers' Day Date: January 20, 2015
BAA Release Date: April 2, 2015
BAA Question Period: April 2, 2015–May 1, 2015
Proposal Due Date: May 18, 2015

Additional Information

Proposers' Day Briefings

SILMARILS Proposers' Day Briefing

Alakai Defense Systems

Block MEMS

ChemImage Sensor Systems

Cornell University

M Squared Lasers

Northeastern University


Rice University

Spectral Sciences Inc.

Spectrum Photonics

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging