A Chemical Sniffer to Detect Nuclear Weapons
Small Business Information
111 Downey Street, Norwood, MA, 02062
AbstractWe 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.
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