New Technology to Detect Chemical, Biological, and Explosive Agents
“We have found we can potentially detect an incredibly small quantity of material, as small as one dust-speck-sized particle weighing one trillionth of a gram, on an individual’s clothing or baggage,” Farquar said. “This is important because if a person handles explosives they are likely to have some remaining residue.”
Using a system they call Single-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometry, or SPAMS, the Livermore scientists already have developed and tested the technology for detecting chemical and biological agents.
The new research expands SPAMS’ capabilities to include several types of explosives that have been used worldwide in improvised explosive devices and other terrorist attacks.
“SPAMS is a sensitive, specific, potential option for airport and baggage screening,” Farquar said. “The ability of the SPAMS technology to determine the identity of a single particle could be a valuable asset when the target analyte is dangerous in small quantities or has no legal reason for being present in an environment.”