Traycer Capitalizing on Breakthrough Terahertz Technology

Terahertz imaging equipment may sound like something out of a science fiction story, but one Columbus business is bringing such technology to life. Capitalizing on resources available to startups in Central Ohio, H. Lee Mosbacker founded Traycer in 2007.

Traycer was one of the first companies to sell T-ray imaging equipment and components. As the market has expanded, the company has leveraged cost and performance advantage to set themselves apart. T-ray imagining equipment can be costly, but Traycer aims to keep the price between $5,000 to $15,000, or the cost equivalent of a good digital camera.

traycer-02In describing the technology, Mosbacker says, “T-rays are the last window of the universe we can see in to be commercialized.” Radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV rays, X-rays and Gamma rays build the spectrum, but T-rays make up the last part of the spectrum that no on has been able to see before.

The technology can be used in a variety of applications.  T-ray imaging equipment is used to look  through materials for corrosion and is able to see past layers of paint. Pharmaceuticals can be scanned for defects. And, the equipment is used for security purposes. Long-term Traycer plans to forage T-ray technology in the biomedical field.

T-rays present a safe form of scanning technology. Mosbacker says the rays are absorbed in the first layer of skin, and especially at these levels, are less harmful than a cell phone.

Traycer does a significant amount of work with the Air Force, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Most of their other customers in the U.S. are located on the coasts. The company has also achieved international success with several clients in Europe and Asia.

While the market for T-ray imaging systems may not have as large of a base in Columbus, the city has played an integral role in the company’s success.

En route to a PhD in Physics from Ohio State, Mosbacker took an entrepreneurship class.

“I knew I wanted to start a company based on the technology out of Ohio State,” he says. In 2007, Mosbacker won the Fisher College of Business Business Plan Competition and received an investment from the Ohio Tech Angel Fund and TechColumbus. Once the technology was developed, Traycer created revenue by selling the imaging equipment to researches and the Air Force.

Traycer has recently been rewarded another investment. Bay-area Phoenix Venture Partners is putting $5 million toward the technology.

“We fit their model perfectly,” Mosbacker says. Phoenix Venture Partners is made up of a group of scientists, so they “speak the same language.” The Partners want to get hands-on with the technology. Such an investment means opportunities for new markets and higher production. The group has access to a supply chain that will help Traycer reduce costs.

“That investment was possible by everything happening in Columbus,” Mosbacker says. Columbus is building a name for technology commercialization. Investors believe in the Midwest and talent in the Midwest.

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