In recent history, manmade and natural events have shown us the every-present need for systems to monitor the troposphere for contaminates. These contaminants may take either a chemical or biological form, which determines the methods we use to monitor them. Monitoring the troposphere for biological contaminants is of particular interest to my organization. Whether manmade or natural, contaminants of a biological origin share similar constituents; typically the aromatic amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine. All of these proteinaceous compounds autofluorescence when exposed to UV radiation and this established the basis of the laser-induced fluorescence technique we use to detect biological contaminants. This technique can be employed in either point or remote detection schemes and is a valuable tool for discriminating proteinaceous form non-proteinaceous aerosols. For this particular presentation I am going to describe a breadboard point sensor we designed and fabricated to detect proteinaceous aerosols. Previous point sensor designs relied on convoluted flow paths to concentrate the aerosols into a solution. Other systems required precise beam alignment to evenly distribute the energy irradiating the detector elements. Our objective was to build a simple system where beam alignment is not critical, and the flow is straight and laminar. The breadboard system was developed over a nine- month period and its performance assessed at a recent test at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. In addition, we have performed chamber experiments in an attempt to establish a baseline for the systems. The results of these efforts are presented here.
Michael Scott DeSha,
"Biological aerosol trigger", Proc. SPIE 3533, Air Monitoring and Detection of Chemical and Biological Agents, (18 January 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.336869; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.336869