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24 October 2016 New capability for hazardous materials ID within sealed containers using a portable spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) device
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Raman spectroscopy allows the acquisition of molecularly specific signatures of pure compounds and mixtures making it a popular method for material identification applications. In hazardous materials, security and counter terrorism applications, conventional handheld Raman systems are typically limited to operation by line-of-sight or through relatively transparent plastic bags / clear glass vials. If materials are concealed behind thicker, coloured or opaque barriers it can be necessary to open and take a sample. Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS)[1] is a novel variant of Raman spectroscopy whereby multiple measurements at differing positions are used to separate the spectrum arising from the sub layers of a sample from the spectrum at the surface. For the first time, a handheld system based on SORS has been developed and applied to hazardous materials identification. The system - "Resolve" - enables new capabilities in the rapid identification of materials concealed by a wide variety of non-metallic sealed containers such as; coloured and opaque plastics, paper, card, sacks, fabric and glass. The range of potential target materials includes toxic industrial chemicals, explosives, narcotics, chemical warfare agents and biological materials. Resolve has the potential to improve the safety, efficiency and critical decision making in incident management, search operations, policing and ports and border operations. The operator is able to obtain a positive identification of a potentially hazardous material without opening or disturbing the container - to gain access to take a sample - thus improving safety. The technique is fast and simple thus suit and breathing gear time is used more efficiently. SORS also allows Raman to be deployed at an earlier stage in an event before more intrusive techniques are used. Evidential information is preserved and the chain of custody protected. Examples of detection capability for a number of materials and barrier types are presented below.
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Robert J. Stokes, Mike Bailey, Stuart Bonthron, Thomas Stone, Guy Maskall, Oliver Presly, Eric Roy, Craig Tombling, and Paul W. Loeffen "New capability for hazardous materials ID within sealed containers using a portable spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) device", Proc. SPIE 9995, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence XII, 999506 (24 October 2016);

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