Covert Optically-Reporting Threat-Functionalized Nanomaterials
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the U.S. Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (SCC-WMD) requires transformational materials technology to support the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) of personnel and materials associated with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development, manufacturing, and proliferation. Voxtel, Inc. proposes to fabricate and demonstrate a series of chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) threat-functionalized optically reporting nanoparticles to address this need. We will fashion the threat reporting nanoparticles from small-sized environmentally-robust metal oxide, metal sulfide, or metal fluoride nanoparticles, which when uniformly dispersed do not scatter light, are optically transparent, and difficult to detect. We will make the covert materials CBRNE sensitive using threat conjugated quenching moieties, which modulate the transformative material's near-infrared (NIR) optical signature when in the presence of a specific threat. The signal can be detected using filtered night vision or infrared equipment, when interrogated with military issue laser sources. In Phase I, we will optimize optically reporting taggants for two different CBRNE threats, and field test the threat-sensitized taggants.
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