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4 May 2007 Underwater olfaction for real-time detection of submerged unexploded ordnance
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Abstract
The presence of Underwater Unexploded Ordnance (UUXO) represents a considerable threat in the marine environment. Elevated concentrations of dissolved explosive compounds, such as TNT and RDX, may be produced in the vicinity of degraded UUXO shell casings and are known to have significant toxicant effects on local marine organisms. During World War II and in subsequent years, the US military inadvertently or, in some cases intentionally, deposited many thousands of tons of UUXO in US coastal waters. Much of this material is difficult to locate by magnetometry or sonar imaging techniques, and can be extremely challenging to identify by visual means after lying on the bottom of the ocean for several decades. The present work is focused on advances in underwater olfaction, wherein trace amounts of dissolved explosive compounds may be detected and discriminated from other chemical species found in the marine environment, for the purpose of establishing safe cordons and/or neutralization of the explosives. ICx Nomadics has developed the first known real-time sensor system that is capable of detecting chemical signatures emanating from underwater explosives. The SeaPup sensor, which is based on the fluorescence-quenching transduction mechanism of an amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP), is capable of real-time detection of the trace chemical signatures emanating from submerged explosive compounds. The SeaPup system has been successfully tested on various marine platforms, including a crawler robot, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). In one study, the SeaPup was shown to effectively map liquid phase "explosive scent plumes" emanating from an underwater source of TNT. The presented paper will provide an overview of the history, current status, and future development of explosive analyte detection in the underwater environment.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Ross J. Harper and Matthew L. Dock "Underwater olfaction for real-time detection of submerged unexploded ordnance", Proc. SPIE 6540, Optics and Photonics in Global Homeland Security III, 65400V (4 May 2007); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.719742
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