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A Chemical Sniffer to Detect Nuclear Weapons

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Contract: DTRA01-01-C-0075
Agency Tracking Number: 00-P1-111
Amount: $734,100.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2001
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
111 Downey Street
Norwood, MA 02062
United States
DUNS: 076603836
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kevin Spencer
 Principal Investigator
 (781) 769-9450
Business Contact
 R. David Rauh
Title: President
Phone: (781) 769-9450
Research Institution

We will develop a vapor phase detector of the chemicals/explosives associated with nuclear weaponry. Radioactivity detection allows accurate weapons verification, but provides too much information on the weaponry design. An alternative is to detect otherchemicals associated with nuclear weaponry. EIC Laboratories has successfully developed vapor phase Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), a sensitive (5 ppb vapor in < 30 s) gas sensing technology to locate TNT-based landmines. This program willdemonstrate the ability of SERS to detect explosives and enrichment solvents at trace levels in the vapor phase. The Phase I effort demonstrated trace level detection of HMX, PETN, TATB, and the enrichment solvents tributylphosphate and kerosene. Wedemonstrated that chemical binders had a negligible effect on the vapor signature. We also demonstrated that explosive impurities, with significantly higher vapor pressures, could be key contributors to a nuclear weapon¿s vapor phase signature. The PhaseII program will complete a SERS spectral survey of chemicals associated with nuclear weapons, fabricate the deliverable transportable SERS system with sensor, and create software that will automatically provide accurate nuclear weapons verification. Goalsare collection times of <5 seconds, a system weight of <20 lbs., and vapor detection with no false positives or negatives. An instrument with the anticipated capabilities will be immediately transferable into several commercially related fields, such astrace detection of narcotics, trace detection of environmental and industrial contaminants, UXO detection, and trace detection of chemical/biological warfare agents. EIC plans to commercialize the SERS probe for these uses.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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