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By ALVA Labs
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The SEED Project Team is dedicated to protecting our service members and fellow citizens from I.E.D.s – Improvised Explosive Devices, as well as the threat from suicide bombers.

With SEED, Stimulated Emission Enhanced Detection, a known, resonating Terahertz frequency of the explosive material is transmitted. If the explosive is located within the frequency's sweep, the material will absorb some of the applied resonating frequency's energy.

Once this frequency is absorbed and the sweep passes, the explosive material will released the absorbed energy as a unique Secondary Emission. When this secondary emission is detected and analyzed, the type of explosive material can be determined and properly handled.

We need your help to complete this important mission. You can make a difference. Join us today by donating to the SEED Project. Once you’re a part of our team, we will keep you informed of SEED’s progress through completion. 


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Creating revolutionary science and technology to secure our world from terrorism

Wouldn't it be great if there were a technology capable of detecting explosives from a safe distance? Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn't it? Science fiction, even? Well, so did space travel, nuclear power, nano technology and the internet at one point, but they’re reality now, aren't they?

So, what is this technology?

It's called "SEED” which stands for ‘Stimulated Emission Enhanced Detection.’  

SEED is a patented, cutting edge technology that uses Terahertz frequencies - otherwise known as 'THz' -  to actively search for specific molecular structures.

While SEED has the theoretical potential to detect a vast array of materials, Team ALVA's SEED focus will be on explosives. 

Why is this?  Simply put, explosives, especially those in the form of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and suicide bombers, are the terrorist’s ‘tool of choice.’  They are tools of terror that are not just a scourge for the United States, but a scourge for the international community, civilized society, at large.

More than 6,780 members of the US Armed Forces have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly half of them were killed by IEDs, with many others left wounded with traumatic and debilitating injuries.

We can and must do better than that!  World events demand a solution.  

With SEED, there is now the potential for society and those who protect us to have a great 'equalizer' to combat and, possibly even defeat, this terror weapon of choice.

Molecules resonate at specific, unique frequencies based upon material type. Thus, these frequencies serve as spectral 'fingerprints'...with no two molecules having the same frequency. THz frequencies lie between the microwave and infrared (IR) frequencies.

Frequency Spectrum (Hz)
Frequency Spectrum (Hz)

Many material frequencies, especially for explosive compositions, lie within the THz spectrum. In addition, THz waves have low photon energies—one million times weaker than x-rays—and will not cause harmful photoionization in biological tissues. In standard English, THz frequencies are fundamentally 'bio friendly' ... meaning they're non-hazardous and will not sterilize men, cause dogs to twitch, force birds to crash and burn from the sky or, sad to say, heat your Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). THz, thus, provides a significant advantage for both imaging biological materials and in operational contexts where an operator or other subjects may be exposed to THz radiation. THz can also penetrate or pass through a number of commonly used materials consequently allowing one to identify what's inside or underneath. This characteristic enhances THz's ability to be used in non-invasive and non-destructive inspections.

Imaging

While THz detection technologies are still in their infancy, there are two applications that have been explored to date. The first application is THz imaging, a passive application ... essentially, X-Rays on steroids ... that still requires subjective interpretation of an image.

THz Imaging
THz Imaging

Linear Spectroscopy

The second application, also passive, is called 'linear spectroscopy' ... where a known THz frequency is applied to a material and the resulting spectrographic 'output' is analyzed to determine what that material is. In essence, linear spectroscopy is the 'firing' of a 'THz bullet' at an unknown material that can eventually be identified based on the forensic analysis of the fragmented remnants of the THz bullet. The major shortcomings of this approach are: 

(1) the resulting THz 'fragmented remnants' are exceptionally low in energy and impossible to detect from a standoff distance

(2) the THz 'fragmented remnants' must be detected from a location opposite of the applied THz 'bullet' ... tough to do when one does not know where an explosive is located to start with.

THz Linear Spectroscopy
THz Linear Spectroscopy

Nonlinear Spectroscopy - SEED  

The third and final application is SEED ... Stimulated Emission Enhanced Detection - a non-passive, interrogative 'nonlinear spectroscopy' application where a known resonating THz frequency of the material in question is applied. If that material, an explosive in this case, is located within the frequency's sweep, the material will absorb some of the applied resonating frequency's energy. This phenomenon is called 'excitation' ... where the addition of a discrete amount of energy called excitation energy to a molecule results in a molecular alteration from its condition of lowest energy ... or ground state ... to one of higher energy ... an excited state.

THz Nonlinear Spectroscopy - SEED
THz Nonlinear Spectroscopy - SEED

Excitation & Detection

The SEED methodology is a nonlinear THz ‘cause & effect’ application that searches for a specific material at the molecular level with an ‘excitation’ harmonic frequency.  Should that material be caught within the excitation sweep, the material will absorb energy from THz excitation.  Once the excitation frequency is removed, the material will be ‘forced,’ by the laws of physics, to return to its ‘steady state’ by releasing the absorbed energy in a unique ‘secondary emission’ that can be detected.  This secondary emission signal should be able to rise above the background 'white noise' like a flare or, in military jargon, a 'Red Star Cluster.'

In essence, a THz resonating harmonic frequency (2) (an 'external energy' excitation frequency) of the material (1) being searched for is transmitted.

If the material searched for is encountered by the transmitted excitation frequency, molecules of that material will be forced to absorb energy from the transmitted signal (3).

When the resonating THz frequency, or excitation energy, is removed, the molecules are forced to return to their lowest energy level ... or ground state ... and do so by releasing in all directions the absorbed excitation energy in what is called a 'secondary emission' (4) ... a singularly unique spectral 'fingerprint' of relatively high energy that is based on the resonating THz frequency and the material's molecular absorption factors.

SEED Secondary Emission - Identification
SEED Secondary Emission - Identification

It is this secondary emission of explosive compositions that can be subsequently detected and identified from a standoff distance.

Based on sound, fundamental laws of physics, SEED is not just theory, it is achievable.

Furthermore, the SEED nonlinear excitation and secondary emission phenomena has been observed in a lab environment.

Dr. X.-C. Zhang Memo dated Oct. 24, 2010
Dr. X.-C. Zhang Memo dated Oct. 24, 2010

I can unequivocally state, "that the phenomenology required for success [of SEED] has been observed." I am comfortable in making such a statement for such an event recently occurred in our lab here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where we observed THz re-emission from a target substance when stimulated with an intense THz pulse excitation. In fact, this observation is very similar to the prediction from ALVA Labs! Our recent observations of this experiment done by two of my students ... are available for your staff's edification upon request.Dr. X.-C. Zhang 

15 Claims Accepted

ALVA Labs’ US Patent for SEED issued 14 August 2012
ALVA Labs’ US Patent for SEED issued 14 August 2012

Primary Claim 14 (Most critical) - A method to detect target materials, comprising the steps of: emitting electromagnetic radiation in the Terahertz range; modulating the electromagnetic radiation to excite molecules in the target materials; and detecting signature emissions of excited molecules in the target materials; wherein the target materials do not require sample preparation, and the steps of emitting, modulating and detecting are performed at a distance of at least 10 meters from the target materials.

NOTE: SEED Patent assignment has been changed from "Graziano" to "ALVA Labs LLC."

Civil Defense & Quality of Life

IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and Suicide Bombers are the tools of terrorism and a scourge to civilized Society.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, more than 6,780 (updated total) U.S. service member deaths were caused by IEDs, alone.

Link to story: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/national/fallen/causes-of-death/ied/

In January 2015, a 10 year old girl in Nigeria was used as a suicide bomber to kill 20 people in a market while another male suicide bomber in Lebanon killed seven others in a Café.

Link to story: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/world/africa/suicide-bomber-hits-maiduguri-nigeria-market.html?_r=0 

More recently, concerns have grown and security heightened at U.S. airports following the release on 24 December 2014 by al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP) - believed to be the group behind the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris on 7 January 2015 - of a magazine issue that featured instructions on how to build what AQAP called a "hidden bomb" from easily purchasable materials, as well as directions on how would-be lone wolves worldwide can evade airport security scanners and sniffer dogs. 

Link to story: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/14/us/airport-security-aqap/index.html

Furthermore, since 17 January, there has been a spike in online threats made against airlines with over 50 threats being made. While none of the threats have proven credible, such threats do result in costly responses from a multitude of military, law enforcement and airport entities that greatly inconvenience and alarm travelers with jet fighter escorts, aircraft diversions, runway closures and even entire airports being shut down.

Link to story: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/28/politics/airlines-online-threats-50/index.html

And, now, ISIS and Al Qaeda are increasingly mounting and calling for attacks on soft targets as a means of deterring Western assaults on their strongholds -- a strategy that is extending the reach of terrorism to hotels, cafés, supermarkets and malls where Europeans and Americans once felt safe.

Link to story: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/02/02/terrorists-soft-target-strategy-puts-anyone-and-everyone-in-danger 

US & Allied Military

Megacity IED Threats
Megacity IED Threats

EXTRACT: The U.S. Army has long been leery of cities. Too often, urban warfare has meant heavy casualties, mass destruction and an enormous commitment of time and resources. In cities, enemy forces have more places to hide, and superior U.S. technology becomes less effective.

The world is changing, though, and … the Army has become convinced that urban combat soon will be unavoidable, and when it happens, it will occur on a scale that the Army has never experienced. The reason? Megacities, or cities with a population of 10 million or more. 

“Urban combat is the great leveler,” David Shunk, a researcher at the Army’s Future Warfare Division, wrote in 2014 in Small Wars Journal. “Standoff technologies are negated and the city fight is still street to street, floor to floor, and often face to face.”

Megacities will call for “more ISR, lots of tactical ISR,” Goure said, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors, as well as “much more precision firepower,” communications equipment that’s designed to operate in urban canyons, more effective IED defeat systems and better close-combat weapons.

Link: http://www.armymagazine.org/2015/02/12/megacity-warfare-taking-urban-combat-to-a-whole-new-level/#sthash.C0jPWVQ2.dpbs  

Such concerns, threats and attacks must be stopped!

It is time now to mitigate, if not outright eliminate, these tools of terror and bring a sense of security back to Society.

Contribute to the development of SEED and help us level the 'playing field' in our War on Terror

Stand Off Detection and identification of materials, including explosives, and other related chemicals and materials is one of the most pressing advantages of SEED Technologies.  Imagine explosives being detected at a distance, before they are close enough to cause loss of life.  The approaching car or truck can be scanned from a distance for explosives.  The vest packed with explosives identified from a distance. This changes the terrorist threat.

Now imagine easily going through the airport, without the taking shoes off, emptying your pockets, or the long delays associated with today's security precautions.  This technology has military safety and commercial safety and security applications.  These are just a few.

Explosive compounds – such as Tetryl, RDX & PETN – fall within the THz spectrum and are, thus, susceptible to SEED excitation.

Explosive THz Frequencies
Explosive THz Frequencies

There are several Raman databases or spectral libraries in the open literature. Organic and inorganic explosives including precursors, chemical warfare agents including precursors, pesticides, narcotics, solvents, and naturally occurring toxins are some of the types of compounds tracked by the FBI Hazardous Materials Response Unit. Two libraries have been independently assembled for the FBI Hazardous Materials Response Unit's Raman projects and thus far total more than 450 compounds.

Example of Explosives Catalogue
Example of Explosives Catalogue

NOTE: 

While not the focus of our fundraising, it must be noted that SEED has the potential to detect a number of materials other than explosives.   Whether explosive, biological agent, cancer or drug in nature, SEED's molecular detection should theoretically apply to all: 

  • WMD- Biological Agents Identification: http://www.alva-labs.com/seed-simulated-emission-enhanced-detection/seed-potential/wmd-biological-agents-identification.html
  • Healthcare Potential of SEED - Cancer & Infectious Diseases: http://www.alva-labs.com/seed-simulated-emission-enhanced-detection/seed-potential/health-care-applications-of-seed.html
  • Pharmaceutical Contamination Control: http://www.alva-labs.com/seed-simulated-emission-enhanced-detection/seed-potential/pharmaceutical-contamination-control-by-seed.html

So, just what is SEED’s … THz’s … overall potential?

Well, according to DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, THz technologies are cited as one of four DARPA projects that could be “bigger than the internet.”

Link to Story: http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/05/four-darpa-projects-could-be-bigger-internet/84856/

Just how big? SEED’s potentially a revolutionary technology that can not only detect and identify materials such as explosives at the molecular level from a standoff distance but, also, based on published studies, it may even be able to impact the replication of biological cells, to include toxic contaminants, cancers or WMD biological agents.

Disclaimers - ‘Bomb Detectors’

Over the years and especially since September 11, 2001, there have been claims made by many to have manufactured a ‘long range bomb detector.

Perhaps, the most egregious claim to date was made by Jim McCormick, an English millionaire business man who sold a device called ‘ADE 651’ to twenty countries in the Middle East and Far East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as $60,000 each. It’s been reported that the Iraqi government, alone, spent nearly $85 million on the devices.

ADE 651
ADE 651

McCormick claimed that the device could effectively and accurately, from long range, detect the presence and location of various types of explosives, drugs, and other materials. Subsequent investigations proved the ADE 651 device to be little more than a "glorified dowsing rod" with no capability to perform the functions claimed by McCormick. In January 2010, the British government banned the exportation of ADE 651. Later, on 23 April 2013, Jim McCormick, was convicted of three counts of fraud and subsequently sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.

See story here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/02/world/europe/uk-fake-bomb-detector

Similar claims of ‘long range bomb detection’ continue to be made by other unscrupulous manufacturers. These devices include the Global Technical GT200, Alpha 6, Quadro Tracker (aka Positive Molecular Locator), the HEDD1 (formerly known as Sniffex Plus), PSD-22, H3Tec and DKLabs Lifeguard. As noted in a number of published investigations and findings, all have been proven to be useless.

When reviewing such claims, one most carefully examine the science behind it. For now, IF such claims do not involve THz type technology as ALVA’s SEED device does, there is an exceptionally high probability that such a device CANNOT detect any material, much less explosives, from a safe stand off distance.

Over the past few years, crowdfunding has proven to be exceptionally successful for a number of projects large and small, technical and nontechnical.

Team ALVA is exceptionally confident that SEED offers as much, if not more, value to society as any previous successful Kickstarter project.

ALVA’s objective is to raise $1M to achieve the following:

  • Design and execute a scientific peer reviewed SEED proof of concept (POC) demonstration that will be run in the University of Rochester’s state of the art THz lab with the consulting support of Dr. XC Zhang.
  • Begin the catalogue development of a molecular Excitation and Secondary Emission library.
  • Purchase the Hardware necessary to begin development of a SEED ‘Beta Device’.
  • It is ALVA’s intent to not only have a successful demonstration of SEED’s capabilities within a year but also be well on the way towards the development of a commercial SEED device.

While the Hardware components for a Beta Device primarily already exist, the objective for this fundraising campaign (per the ALVA Fundraising Objective) is to:

  • Scientifically Validate and Demonstrate the SEED concept within a lab environment
  • Create the necessary THz Excitation & Secondary Emission library catalogue for materials such as explosives, and 
  • Assemble and Integrate all Hardware and Software components for a viable, out of laboratory SEED Beta Device.

The SEED Device will essentially be composed of FIVE major components:

  • Computer CPU – in this case, a laptop
  • A THz frequency transmitter
  • A THz high power tube (Excitation)
  • A Secondary Emission Receiver
  • A THz Excitation & Secondary Emission library catalogue
SEED Explosive Detection Beta Device
SEED Explosive Detection Beta Device

Statistically, if the history of adjacent bands of electromagnetic spectrum are any guide, the most compelling and beneficial applications of Terahertz technology are yet to come!

Can SEED really do all we’ve discussed? ALVA certainly believes so and the science and studies to date support that it can. That, as well as one of the world’s foremost THz experts, says a great deal about SEED’s potential.

Ultimately, though, even if SEED can do only ONE of the things discussed…detect explosives or a myriad of other materials to include illicit drugs, detect diseases, WMD bio agents, Ebola or prevent their growth...isn’t it worth a try? Imagine, if successful, SEED will not be just about saving lives or enhancing security, all exceptionally noble pursuits in their own right, it will also lead to immense economic savings with significant national, as well as international, implications.

So, in DARPA’s own words, are you interested and willing to contribute to a project that may eventually prove itself to be the next Internet?

If so, pledge and pass the word. Join this virtuous and honorable effort that will not only create a living testimonial to Captain Josh Byers and all those who’ve died from the IED and suicide bomber scourge but will also be a part of history. Years from now, we may all be looking back and proudly saying to others, “I was a part of SEED.”

Disclaimer: does not constitute an endorsement by West Point
Disclaimer: does not constitute an endorsement by West Point

One of the great sayings at the United States Military Academy is that “much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.

West Point, historically, has been a leader … whether on the battlefield, Wall Street or in the corporate board room. SEED is not only another chance for USMA to shine but to also lead the way, as it has so many other times before.

Help us prevent the senseless deaths and horrific injuries to service members such as Josh, as well as to fellow citizens world wide, from the threat of undetected explosives on both the battlefield and beyond.

Grip Hands …

Risks and challenges

All technology initiatives, especially those that are as advanced and cutting edge as ALVA Labs’ SEED, have risks & challenges.

As West Point graduates, qualified US Army Rangers and former military commissioned officers, Team ALVA not only eagerly anticipates challenges but is also very well versed and exceptionally well trained to manage the mitigation or elimination risk.

Team ALVA has placed a great deal of personal time and money into developing the SEED concept which we all approach with the mindset of the final stanza of the US Army Ranger Creed:

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor. Rangers lead the way!

SEED is our metaphoric ‘Ranger objective.’

SEED’s potential is more than evolutionary; it’s revolutionary. Not only does SEED have the potential to create an entire new industry of detection and biological mitigation, but it may even prove to be of exceptional historical value to Society, as a whole.

HOW GREAT IS THAT?!

To proclaim that Team ALVA is ecstatic about this initiative would be an understatement.

To rise to the challenge and mitigate risk, Team ALVA has brought together a group of exceptional subject matter experts (SMEs) well versed not only in leadership and management but also in explosives and THz technology:

ALVA Partners: US Army combat arms officers, the majority with advanced degrees and professional certifications from MSs, MBAs, Program Management Professional (PMP), Strategic Senior Executive, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and US government contracting, in addition to explosive expertise.

Board of Advisors: US Army combat arms officers, two of whom are former Directors of the Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).

Scientific Consultant & Mentor: One of the world’s foremost THz subject matter experts and former Chairman of NATO’s THz Exploratory Team and Sensor and Electronics Technology Task Group.

Industry Collaborative Partners: Team ALVA has developed collaborative partnerships with highly accredited THz research and engineering organizations such as the University of Rochester's THz research lab and the Zomega Terahertz Corporation.

How ‘risky’ is SEED? SEED is not just theory, it is achievable.

Aside from the expertise of the Team ALVA members, it should also be noted that the SEED nonlinear excitation and secondary emission phenomena is based on sound, fundamental laws of physics that have been observed in a lab environment by students of Professor X.-C. Zhang, one of the world’s foremost THz subject matter experts.

The SEED Device will essentially be comprised of FIVE major components:

1. Computer CPU – in this case, a laptop
2. A THz frequency transmitter
3. A THz high power tube (Excitation)
4. A Secondary Emission Receiver
5. A THz Excitation & Secondary Emission library catalogue

Of these five major components, all are commercial off the shelf (COTF) with the exception of a THz high power tube and a THz Excitation & Secondary Emission Library Catalogue.

Fortunately, Team ALVA has been able to identify a recent patent of a THz high power tube that, interestingly enough, is based upon a design proposed by ALVA Labs in 2010 and, thus, should be available for procurement.

Thus, aside from bringing all the hardware components together, this leaves the THz Excitation & Secondary Emission Library Catalogue, the underlying software search algorithms, as the only remaining outliers to define…a tasking Team ALVA sees as quite doable based upon Professor Zhang’s student’s earlier lab observations.

So, why does Team ALVA need to execute a SEED proof of concept (POC) if such a phenomena has already been cited by Dr. Zhang as having been observed? It’s because the observed SEED phenomena was not conducted under the required ‘austere’ scientific requirements demanded by scientific peer review.

As noted in our Schedule & Milestone, Team ALVA has devoted a considerable amount of time and money to get where we are.

SEED IS DOABLE but, now, we need help to achieve our final goal of developing a device of exceptional value to Society that can detect and identify molecular structures from a stand-off distance.

YOUR pledge will help bring us one step closer to this goal.

Join our Team and support us as we work towards mitigating, if not outright eliminating, one of terrorism’s greatest scourges, IEDs and suicide bombers, by clicking the ‘Back This Project’ button at the top of the page, or by helping spread the word by sharing this link.

On behalf of all … to include a grateful Society, we salute you and THANK YOU for your assistance.

Rangers Lead the Way! (RLTW)

Team ALVA

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Funding period

- (45 days)