Amphion Partner Company, Durham Scientific Crystals, signs Airport Security Deal
World-leading technology to revolutionise airport security Technology to reduce terrorist threat and speed up check-in process
London and New York, 3 December 2007 - Amphion Innovations plc (LSE: AMP) the developer of medical and technology businesses, today announces that one of its Partner Companies, Durham Scientific Crystals Ltd. (“DSC”), a Durham University spin-out focused on the application of its unique semi-conducting materials for digital detectors in x-ray imaging, has signed a contract with the UK Home Office to develop revolutionary, automatic explosives detectors for UK airports. The Home Office and other Government departments are contributing £350,000 towards the £1.5 million, two-year project.
The company, based in NetPark, Sedgefield, is developing a prototype baggage scanner for airports that will use DSC’s proven compound semiconductor technology, to automatically detect explosives using x-rays.
The technology will allow, for the first time, multi-view imaging for the identification and discrimination of explosives and flammable liquids.
A Home Office Scientific Development Branch spokesman has stated, “The project was one of well over 200 proposed projects submitted after a cross-departmental call for innovative proposals made in April this year. Implementation of the technology would be a major step forward in the development of automated explosives detection. In addition to the funding, HOSDB and its project partners will be providing technical advice and assistance to ensure that the implementation of the technique meets operational requirements.”
DSC managing director Dr Arnab Basu said: “We are confident that we will be able to identify materials using multi-spectral detectors which can fingerprint areas of threat. This will take a lot of pressure off operators tasked with identifying such threats. The operator will be enabled to look at an object from different directions in a seamless rotation, giving a dynamic image without compromising the speed of the operation. When fully trialled, these machines could replace all existing airport x ray machines throughout the world.’’
This development could transform airport security, which faces new challenges with the heightened terrorist threat. Improved explosives detectors would not only significantly reduce that threat, but also help improve passenger flow. And the global expansion of air travel means the potential market is vast.
“The whole aviation market for explosives detection is worth well over US $1 billion a year and DSC’s product will have a high degree of differentiation within the sector,’’ said Dr Basu. He added: “This is a highly significant project, both for the international airlines industry and for Durham Scientific Crystals. We have developed the technology to make this project a reality. Over the past four years we have built up the company and now we have clearly demonstrated that the compound semiconductor Cadmium Telluride can be used as a mainstream material in high volume, commercial applications.’’
Richard Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of Amphion Innovations plc (LSE: AMP), said, “DSC’s patented technology has broad commercial opportunity in medicine, industry, and defense applications, as well as in security. Acceleration of the development of these important products for the security applications should help the development of products for these other markets. We are delighted that DSC is able to make such an important contribution to this critical field and we remain equally excited by the opportunities that lie beyond”.
The first prototype, a small baggage scanner, suitable for testing in a UK airport, is planned to be built within the next 12 months. A second prototype, a full-scale baggage scanner, will be ready for trials within two years.
DSC has developed a proven breakthrough technology to produce, from vapour, single crystals of cadmium telluride which can be used as detectors of x and gamma rays. This technology will significantly aid the move from analogue to digital x ray imaging and it allows direct `fingerprinting’ to identify materials such as explosives.
DSC will look at possible partnerships with other companies to take the machines to market as part of a fully integrated security system.
For further information please contact
Amphion Innovations plc
Charlie Morgan, Director of Communications
+1 212 210 6224
Ben Atwell/ Susan Quigley
+44 20 7831 3113
Charles Stanley Securities
Mark Taylor/ Freddy Crossley
+44 20 7149 6000
About Amphion Innovations plc
Amphion Innovations plc (LSE: AMP) builds shareholder value in high growth companies in the medical and technology sectors. Amphion uses a focused, hands-on company building approach based on decades of experience in both the US and UK.
On the web: www.amphionplc.com
About Durham Scientific Crystals, Ltd
Durham Scientific Crystals, Ltd. (“DSC”) is a research and development company, which was spun-out from the Physics Department of the University of Durham. The company was formed in April 2003 and has been actively involved in the research and development of semiconductor materials, in conjunction with the University research labs. DSC’s technological expertise is a result of over three decades of semiconductor research at the University of Durham.
DSC is located in Sedgefield, County Durham, England and is developing next-generation proprietary products and processes based around key semiconductor optoelectronic materials used in medical and security applications.
On the web: www.dscrystals.com