Low Cost, Sensor System for Real-Time Detection of Explosives, Poison Gases, and Other Personnel Hazards
Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
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3768 A/B Hawkins N.E., Albuquerque, NM, 87109
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractEvents including the Oklahoma CIty bombing and the Sarin attack in the Tokyo subway have emphasized the vulnerability of personnel, both military and civilian, to unexpected attack with conventional explosives and chemical substances. To combat this threat requires portable, low cost sensor systems capable of detecting a variety of dangerous materials at extremely low concentrations. Such a technology could be used for detection of explosives, poisonous gases, concealed weapons and illegal drugs. TPL has developed piezoelectric devices and self-assembled monolayer chemistry techniques that result in sensors able to detect low ppb levels of specific analytes at a cost of approximately $10 per sensor. Although these characteristics are promising, the range of potential threats and environments requires a sensor system that is extremely selective to ensure detection and avoid false alarms. TPL proposes an instrument and software system that would permit a single array of approximately five sensors to be able to detect a wide range of materials. Selectivity would be achieved with an array of sensors, each sensitive to a chemical moiety rather than a specific analyte. The response of the array would be calibrated using a software approach to the recognition of relevant analytes under actual environmental conditions. Anticipated Military Benefits/Potential Commercial Applications of the Research and Development: A simple, accurate, highly automated sensor system for detection of explosives, poison gases and other materials would have widespread application for the U.S. military, local police forces, and industrial concerns, It could also be used to provide critical information on the level of fugitive emissions at industrial manufacturing facilities, waste storage sites, and hazardous waste cleanup sites. The proposed device would be simple and inexpensive enough for widespread use.
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