FT-IR spectroscopy is the technology of choice to identify solid and liquid phase unknown samples. The challenging ConOps in emergency response and military field applications require a significant redesign of the stationary FT-IR bench-top instruments typically used in laboratories. Specifically, field portable units require high levels of resistance against mechanical shock and chemical attack, ease of use in restrictive gear, extreme reliability, quick and easy interpretation of results, and reduced size. In the last 20 years, FT-IR instruments have been re-engineered to fit in small suitcases for field portable use and recently further miniaturized for handheld operation. This article introduces the HazMatID™ Elite, a FT-IR instrument designed to balance the portability advantages of a handheld device with the performance challenges associated with miniaturization. In this paper, special focus will be given to the HazMatID Elite’s sampling interfaces optimized to collect and interrogate different types of samples: accumulated material using the on-board ATR press, dispersed powders using the ClearSampler™ tool, and the touch-to-sample sensor for direct liquid sampling. The application of the novel sample swipe accessory (ClearSampler) to collect material from surfaces will be discussed in some detail. The accessory was tested and evaluated for the detection of explosive residues before and after detonation. Experimental results derived from these investigations will be described in an effort to outline the advantages of this technology over existing sampling methods.
FT-IR spectroscopy is the technology of choice to identify solid and liquid phase unknown samples. The challenges of
ConOps (Concepts of Operation) in emergency response and military field applications require a significant redesign of
the stationary FT-IR bench-top instruments typically used in laboratories. Specifically, field portable units require high
levels of resistance against mechanical shock and chemical attack, ease of use in restrictive gear, quick and easy
interpretation of results, and reduced size. In the last 20 years, FT-IR instruments have been re-engineered to fit in small
suitcases for field portable use and recently further miniaturized for handheld operation. This article introduces the
advances resulting from a project designed to overcome the challenges associated with miniaturizing FT-IR instruments.
The project team developed a disturbance-corrected permanently aligned cube corner interferometer for improved
robustness and optimized opto-mechanical design to maximize optical throughput and signal-to-noise ratios. Thermal
management and heat flow were thoroughly modeled and studied to isolate sensitive components from heat sources and
provide the widest temperature operation range. Similarly, extensive research on mechanical designs and compensation
techniques to protect against shock and vibration will be discussed. A user interface was carefully created for military
and emergency response applications to provide actionable information in a visual, intuitive format. Similar to the
HazMatID family of products, state-of-the-art algorithms were used to quickly identify the chemical composition of
complex samples based on the spectral information. This article includes an overview of the design considerations, tests
results, and performance validation of the mechanical ruggedness, spectral, and thermal performance.
FT-IR spectroscopy is the technology of choice to identify solid and liquid phase unknown samples. Advances in
instrument portability have made possible the use of FT-IR spectroscopy in emergency response and military field
applications. The samples collected in those harsh environments are rarely pure and typically contain multiple chemical
species in water, sand, or inorganic matrices. In such critical applications, it is also desired that in addition to broad
chemical identification, the user is warned immediately if the sample contains a threat or target class material (i.e.
biological, narcotic, explosive). The next generation HazMatID 360 combines the ruggedized design and functionality
of the current HazMatID with advanced mixture analysis algorithms. The advanced FT-IR instrument allows effective
chemical assessment of samples that may contain one or more interfering materials like water or dirt. The algorithm was
the result of years of cumulative experience based on thousands of real-life spectra sent to our ReachBack spectral
analysis service by customers in the field. The HazMatID 360 combines mixture analysis with threat detection and
chemical hazard classification capabilities to provide, in record time, crucial information to the user. This paper will
provide an overview of the software and algorithm enhancements, in addition to examples of improved performance in
Recent advances in the design of compact interferometers and infrared sampling accessories have allowed FTIR
spectroscopy to be taken out of the laboratory and into the field. The chemical identification capability of mid-infrared
spectroscopy has filled many needs of military, security, and emergency response personnel. Further design optimization
has led to the development of a hand-held FTIR system, the HazmatID Ranger, which enables new applications in
chemical identification and offers increased flexibility for elusive samples encountered in the field. An overview of the
performance of the HazmatID Ranger using a receiver operating characteristic analysis is presented along with a
discussion of the viability of hand-held FTIR measurements for applications in defense and security.