Applied Research & Photonics, USA
Question 1: Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society. How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
ARP’s CW Terahertz technology has impacted in nano-scale wafer inspection to minimize wafer rejection, transdermal drug delivery and analytical areas for trace explosive detection. Wafer rejection costs billions of dollars because ~30% wafers are rejected when the current testing methods fail to “see” nano-scale defects hidden in the interior layers. ARP’s CW terahertz inspection system can identify nano-scale defects buried in the interior layers of wafer, thus stop process at the early stage. ARP’s terahertz scanner can quantify the kinetics and concentration distribution of topical drugs via non-invasive, direct measurement in real-time. In the analytical applications, ARP’s terahertz time domain spectrometer offers a resolution of parts per billion; thus capable of detecting trace amount of explosives (and other molecules). Thus this technology is making an impact in the aforementioned areas.
Question 2: Tell us about how your technology is unique? What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
ARP’s technology is unique in a couple of aspects. First, ARP generates CW terahertz radiation from electro-optic dendrimer. Here a new mechanism was invented by creating dipole distribution in dendrimer molecule which allows a broadband source. In addition, the source power can be tuned up to a few tens of milliwatts over a wide range of up to 35 THz. Utilization of this source in ARP’s products such as terahertz spectrometer allows discovering new physical phenomenon in molecules that were not visible by its predecessor spectroscopies. For non-invasive depth profiling, a resolution down to 1 nm is unique. For sub-surface nano-scanner and 3D imager opens a new horizon of wafer inspection, and also biomedical imaging such as early detection of skin cancer. Imaging may also be used for dental caries and breast cancer detection. There are other applications of the scanner such as paint thickness or defects, art and murals, paper thickness and coating integrity, layer non-uniformity, etc.
Question 3: When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or incremental changes by improving a current technology? Describe this.
ARP’s CW terahertz technology is a revolution in itself because it did not follow the traditional route of terahertz generation by femto-second pulsed laser. A new concept was introduced via electro-optic dendrimer. Terahertz spectroscopy enabled by this route makes a transformational change in that a number of new molecular resonances became visible that were never seen before. Many theoretically predicted peaks for Fullerene matched by ARP’s terahertz spectra. The direct measurement of skin permeation kinetics and concentration is also a brand new concept that was implemented for the first time by ARP’s scanner. Similarly, sub-surface wafer scanner and 3D imager on a nanometer scale is also a first in its class.
Question 4: Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer. Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user. Example: We produce a component that we sell to a laser systems manufacturer (name the company) who sells it to a medical OEM (name the company), who then sells it to a hospital (name the hospital).
Samsung was having failure issues with their OLED display modules. Two different class of module with different substrates, were having unexpected dead pixels that could not be resolved with their SOTA instrument that coast in the tune of million dollar. Based on ARP’s proposal, Samsung sent their engineer with several of the OLED modules that had known failure. ARP offered testing service and worked for a week with their engineer at ARP’s facility in Harrisburg. Their problem was solved by discovering sources of problems including nano scale defects buried in the layers. Similarly, service was provided to SAIC to characterize their vaccine and cancer drug candidates. Other services include tobacco GMP and early detection of dental caries.
Question 5: In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
Transdermal drug delivery
Question 6: Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
You can eliminate wafer rejection to save billions in fab waste. Now you can “see” what’s below your skin without radiation hazard. Detect traces of explosives from meters away.
Question 7: Surprise Us! What else should we know about your product/technology?
Being a start-up company and not being blessed by any grant or major investment, ARP had to depend on innovation for its survival. This led ARP to invent new ways of revenue generation. We began by collaboration with reputable entities such as SAIC, Samsung, ARL, PennState Univ, Colgate and others. Many were attracted by ARP’s unique capabilities and wanted to try their problem. We took on the challenges and produced useful results. This way, we were able turn many collaborators in to customers.