Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Warfare Agent Mass Spectrometer Being Built At ORNL

Date:
June 22, 1998
Source:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
A chemical-biological mass spectrometer (CBMS) that will more accurately detect deadly chemical and biological warfare agents and warn soldiers to wear protective gear or to avoid contaminated areas is being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM).

By Carolyn Krause

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 16, 1998 --A chemical-biological mass spectrometer (CBMS) that will more accurately detect deadly chemical and biological warfare agents and warn soldiers to wear protective gear or to avoid contaminated areas is being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM).

The new instrument, which is expected to be produced in 2001 for military use, could also be modified for valuable civilian applications. It could map environmental pollutants, rapidly identify bacteria in hospitals, ensure that processed food is free of bacterial contamination, and identify hazardous materials from industrial accidents and terrorist attacks.

During the Persian Gulf War, many false alarms were sounded by detectors used to determine if U.S.-led coalition forces were being exposed to Iraqi chemical warfare agents. "The reason," says Wayne Griest, manager for the CBMS program at ORNL, "is that many detectors were confounded by the chemically complex background of fumes from oil well fires, fuels, and lubricants, as well as exhausts from weapons and engines. The new CBMS being developed by the Oak Ridge team should solve this problem. The final product should provide vastly improved protection to our troops."

CBDCOM has chosen ORNL as its partner to lead the development of the next series of the CBMS, the Block II. The current Block I CBMS is used to identify or signal the presence of toxins, viruses, and other dangerous biological warfare agents such as anthrax bacteria. The new Block II CBMS is intended to identify both biological agents and chemical agents such as VX nerve gas.

The Army has asked the developers to design a device that is more sensitive, rugged, easily maintainable in the field, and user-friendly and to reduce its size, power requirements, and production cost. ORNL is responsible for the design, prototyping, and demonstration of the Block II CBMS under CBDCOM guidance. Some agent testing will be conducted in special facilities at ORNL.

Because of its expertise in developing ion trap mass spectrometers for analysis of environmental pollutants, ORNL was selected to spearhead the development of the Block II CBMS, which started in January 1997. The next-generation instrument will be designed to detect and distinguish among a wider variety of airborne chemicals and microorganisms as well as chemicals on the ground.

The Block II CBMS will consist of six modules; the total package will be about the size of a desktop computer with a monitor. The instrument will be self-diagnosing; if a breakdown occurs, the computer will tell the operator which module should be replaced.

The Block II CBMS is being designed and built by a team of more than 50 researchers from five ORNL divisions (Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division, with support from the Instrumentation and Controls, Computational Physics and Engineering, Life Sciences, and Computer Science and Mathematics divisions) and three contractors, MSP Corporation, the Colorado School of Mines, and the Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The researchers have made several innovations to improve the CBMS design. They are developing novel air sampler and pyrolyzer modules, an advanced ion trap mass spectrometer, and data acquisition, manipulation, and display systems. In addition, they have designed the circuitry to include the most modern components that can perform advanced functions yet remain physically rugged and tolerant of radiation.

The Orbital Sciences Corporation will contribute to the design of the prototypes and will manufacture preproduction units. The ORNL-led effort is projected to total $32 million over a four-year period.

ORNL, one of the Department of Energy's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Warfare Agent Mass Spectrometer Being Built At ORNL." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980622061102.htm>.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (1998, June 22). Warfare Agent Mass Spectrometer Being Built At ORNL. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980622061102.htm
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Warfare Agent Mass Spectrometer Being Built At ORNL." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980622061102.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins