Widely tunable quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) spanning the long-wave infrared (LWIR) atmospheric transmission window and an HgCdTe detector were incorporated into a transceiver having a 50-mm-diameter transmit/receive aperture. The transceiver was used in combination with a 50-mm-diameter hollow retro-reflector for the open-path detection of chemical clouds. Two rapidly tunable external-cavity QCLs spanned the wavelength range of 7.5 to 12.8 m. Open-path transmission measurements were made over round-trip path-lengths of up to 562 meters. Freon-132a and other gases were sprayed into the beam path and the concentration-length (CL) product was measured as a function of time. The system exhibited a noise-equivalent concentration (NEC) of 3 ppb for Freon-132a given a round-trip path of 310 meters. Algorithms based on correlation methods were used to both identify the gases and determine their CLproducts as a function of time.
Block MEMS/Engineering develops mid-infrared spectroscopy systems based on both Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)
spectrometers and quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). Our recently developed miniaturized external-cavity QCLs are
widely tunable over a spectral range of >250 cm-1 and tuning can be accomplished at rates of <25 cm-1 per millisecond. This enables high-speed mid-infrared spectroscopy of gases and surface contaminants for a variety of military and
commercial applications. This paper provides an overview of our FTIR and QCL systems and their defense-related
IR spectroscopy is a broadly applicable technique for the identification of covalent materials. Recent advances in instrumentation have made Fourier Transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy available for field characterization of suspect materials. Presently, this instrumentation is broadly deployed and used for the identification of potential chemical hazards. This discussion concerns work towards expanding the analytical utility of field-based FT-IR spectrometry in the characterization of biological threats. Two classes of materials were studied: biologically produced chemical toxins which were non-peptide in nature and peptide toxin. The IR spectroscopic identification of aflatoxin-B1, trichothecene T2 mycotoxin, and strychnine was evaluated using the approach of spectral searching against large libraries of materials. For pure components, the IR method discriminated the above toxins at better than the 99% confidence level. The ability to identify non-peptide toxins in mixtures was also evaluated using a "spectral stripping" search approach. For the mixtures evaluated, this method was able to identify the mixture components from ca. 32K spectral library entries. Castor bean extract containing ricin was used as a representative peptide toxin. Due to similarity in protein spectra, a SIMCA pattern recognition methodology was evaluated for classifying peptide toxins. In addition to castor bean extract the method was validated using bovine serum albumin and myoglobin as simulants. The SIMCA approach was successful in correctly classifying these samples at the 95% confidence level.
A new point sensor for identifying chemical weapons of mass destruction and other hazardous materials based on Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy is presented. The sensor is a portable, fully functional FT-IR system that features a miniaturized Michelson interferometer, an integrated diamond attenuated total reflection (ATR) sample interface, and an embedded on-board computer. Samples are identified by an automated search algorithm that compares their infrared spectra to digitized databases that include reference spectra of nerve and blister agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and other hazardous materials. The hardware and software are designed for use by technicians with no background in infrared spectroscopy. The unit, which is fully self-contained, can be hand-carried and used in a hot zone by personnel in Level A protective gear, and subsequently decontaminated by spraying or immersion. Wireless control by a remote computer is also possible. Details of the system design and performance, including results of field validation tests, are discussed.