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8 October 2007 Quantum cascade laser-based screening portal for the detection of explosive precursors
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In recent years, quantum cascade lasers (QCL) have been proven in robust, high-performance gas analyzers designed for continuous emission monitoring (CEM) in harsh environments. In 2006, Cascade Technologies reported progress towards adapting its patented technology for homeland security applications by publishing initial results on explosive compound detection. This paper presents the performance and results from a QCL-based people screening portal developed during the past year and aimed at the detection of precursors used in the make up of improvised explosive devices (IED). System tests have been carried out on a large number of potential interferents, together with target precursor materials, reinforcing original assumptions that compound fingerprinting can be effectively demonstrated using this technique. Results have shown that an extremely high degree of specificity can be achieved with a sub-second response time. Furthermore, it has been shown that unambiguous precursor signature recognition can be extended to compound mixtures associated with the intermediate stages in the make up of IEDs, whilst maintaining interferent immunity. The portal sensitivity was configured for parts per billion (ppb) detection level thresholds, but is currently being reconfigured for sub-ppb detection. In summary, the results obtained from the QCL based portal indicate that development of a low cost detection system, with enhanced features such as low false positive and high throughput screening of individuals or items, is possible. Development and testing was carried out with the support of the UK government.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Ruth Lindley, Erwan Normand, Iain Howieson, Michael McCulloch, Paul Black, Colin Lewis, and Brian Foulger "Quantum cascade laser-based screening portal for the detection of explosive precursors", Proc. SPIE 6741, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting III, 67410P (8 October 2007);

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