Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Portable Device Senses Chemical Weapons

Date:
December 5, 2001
Source:
University Of Delaware
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Delaware have developed a portable detection platform that could provide real-time recognition of chemical and biological weapons using infrared spectroscopy.

Researchers at the University of Delaware have developed a portable detection platform that could provide real-time recognition of chemical and biological weapons using infrared spectroscopy.

Related Articles


A patent is pending on the Planar Array IR (PA-IR) spectrograph developed by John Rabolt, chairperson of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Mei-Wei Tsao, research professor in that department.

The device, which is now about the size of a large shoebox, can detect even small amounts of chemical weapons agents in solid, liquid or vapor phases.

It is also possible that the device can sense chemical agents at a distance, although Rabolt said further research on that is now being conducted. “We are planning to test the detectivity of our new PA-IR using a telescopic collection system that should be able to detect the presence of certain chemical agents at large distances away from our detector,” he said.

Using the analyte, or the compound that can be analyzed, that is specific to a given biological agent, the device can easily and quickly sense the agent’s presence. “Adding a series of such sensors near the at-risk sites could report back real-time findings via wireless transmitters,” Rabolt said.

Although its ability to detect chemical and biological weapons is of great interest given the recent terrorist attacks, the device also has broad industrial applications. It can be used to make real-time measurements of the thickness and chemical composition of various films, coatings and liquids.

“Our PA-IR system will enable companies that run production lines at extremely fast speeds to cut down on waste by keeping better track of imperfections or variations in product quality as it is being manufactured,” Rabolt said.

Advantages of the new UD system over other spectroscopy devices are high sensitivity, fast data acquisition and the absence of moving parts. “It is the latter that makes the PA-IR rugged, portable and reliable,” Rabolt said. “Its integrity is not compromised by aggressive environments.”

Rabolt and Tsao are working to further miniaturize the system to the size of a lunchbox and to expand its capabilities. The goal is to provide a generalized version for laboratory use and a specialized version for customized material sensing applications, such as industrial, military and environmental monitoring.

Rabolt said the invention resulted from the marriage of spectroscopy technologies from the 1960s with the high sensitivity detection technologies of the 21st century. He said “early spectroscopy devices were based on the use of light sources (lamps), the light from which could be broken into the various colors of the spectrum. Each material or substance absorbs a characteristic set of those colors providing a ‘fingerprint.’”

Because that process was lengthy and laborious, each color being broken down and applied one at a time, it was replaced by Fourier Transform spectroscopy, a multiplex technique based on inteferometry, which could record the entire color spectrum at once.

“The problem with such Fourier transform (FT) instruments,” Tsao said, “is the size and the required moving parts. FT-IR instruments use precision-machined mechanisms to facilitate the moving mirrors.

“In many cases, parts made by single-point diamond turning are required. The likelihood that such intricate machinery can survive portable application scenarios is low and that is why FT-IR has been confined to the laboratory environment for the most part.”

The UD design relies on an infrared light bulb and a focal plane array similar to a charge-coupled device, or CCD, which can be found in modern digital cameras.

The UD device “uses highly sensitive multi-element infrared detectors and can detect things that can’t be detected using Fourier transform spectroscopy, which employs single element infrared detection,” Rabolt said.

And, it can do that very quickly because of its fast data acquisition capability. Where it could take Fourier instruments on the order of hours to analyze an oil spill on the water—lost time that could have dire environmental consequences—the UD device can perform the same analysis in 30 seconds and can provide more accurate data.

In addition, the device is very simple in both design and construction. “We learned from years of instrumentation experience that the simpler the design is, the less likely things will go wrong,” Tsao said, adding, “One can easily envision a version of this device made with a single block of metal where all the metal junctions, such as welds and bolts, are removed.”

Funding for the research was provided, in part, by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Delaware. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Delaware. "New Portable Device Senses Chemical Weapons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011205070207.htm>.
University Of Delaware. (2001, December 5). New Portable Device Senses Chemical Weapons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011205070207.htm
University Of Delaware. "New Portable Device Senses Chemical Weapons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011205070207.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — The Dutch government has cut production at Europe&apos;s largest gas field in Groningen amid concerns over earthquakes which are damaging local churches. As Amy Pollock reports the decision - largely politically-motivated - could have big economic conseqeunces. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Star Wars-Inspired Prototype Creates Holographic Display

Star Wars-Inspired Prototype Creates Holographic Display

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — A prototype holographic display named Leia - after the Star Wars princess who appeared in holographic form asking Obi-Wan Kenobu for help - is demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA and Samsung Launch Embedded Wireless Charging Range

IKEA and Samsung Launch Embedded Wireless Charging Range

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Samsung and IKEA hope their new embedded wireless charging products, launched at Barcelona&apos;s Mobile World Congress, will tempt consumers eager for plugless power. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Samsung Unveils $30,000 'Dream Doghouse'

Samsung Unveils $30,000 'Dream Doghouse'

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) — On display at the Crufts dog show in England, the &apos;dog kennel of the future&apos; comes with features like a doggie treadmill and Samsung tablet. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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