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7 November 2007 Recent advances in the development of a novel aerosol sorting and deposition system for bio-threat sensing applications
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Sarnoff Corporation and the Naval Research Laboratory, through support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are developing an automated, high throughput bio-aerosol physical enrichment system designed for use as part of a biological-threat protection system. The Biological Aerosol-Capture-Enrichment (BioACE) system is a bio-aerosol collection system that combines three unique technologies to create physically enriched aerosol samples that can be subsequently interrogated by any number of bio-threat detection systems for the presence of threat agents. An air-to-air concentrator uses an inertial separation technique to highly concentrate an aerosol sample presented to a dual wavelength ultra-violet laser induced fluorescence (UVLIF) optical trigger used to discriminate potential threat particles from non-threat particles conveyed in a collimated particle stream. This particle classification information is used to trigger an electrostatic deposition mechanism to deposit only those particles determined to be potential bio-threats onto a stainless steel substrate. Non-threat particles are discarded with the exiting airflow. The goal for the most recent development effort has been the integration and optimization of these technologies into a unit capable of producing highly enriched particulate samples from ambient air containing variable background aerosol loading and type. Several key technical and engineering challenges were overcome during the course of this development including a unique solution for compensating particle velocity dispersion within the airflow, development of a real-time signal acquisition and detection algorithm for determining material type on a particle by particle basis at rates greater than 2000 particles per second, and the introduction of a robust method for transferring deposited particulate into a 50ul wet sample suitable for most advanced bio-detection techniques. This paper will briefly describe the overall system architecture and then concentrate on the various component and system design tradeoffs required to optimize sample enrichment performance. A system performance model will be presented along with detailed analysis of the optical system components and electronic signal processing needed for achieving high concentration sample enrichment. Experimental methods and data obtained in the laboratory setting and from real world environments will be described and used to support the performance model of the system. Finally, a number of air sampling scenarios will be analyzed using the system performance model to determine the applicability of the BioACE system to the various concepts of operation perceived to be needed for achieving a high performance bio-threat detect-to-protect system.
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Timothy Pletcher, Joseph McGinn, David Keller, Alan Huston, Jay Eversole, and Vasanthi Sivaprakasam "Recent advances in the development of a novel aerosol sorting and deposition system for bio-threat sensing applications", Proc. SPIE 6739, Electro-Optical Remote Sensing, Detection, and Photonic Technologies and Their Applications, 673910 (7 November 2007);

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