This paper describes a novel technique for the detection of contaminants in air using the process of laser-induced filamentation. This work is focused primarily on the visible and infrared spectrum. Characterization of the temporal and spatial evolution of laser-generated plasma in solvent aerosols is necessary for the development of potential applications. Atmospheric aerosols impact capabilities of applications such as range from laser-induced ionized micro channels and filaments able to transfer high electric pulses over a few hundreds of meters, to the generation of plasma artifacts in air, far away from the laser source.
Maritime security personnel have a need for advanced technologies to address issues such as identification, confirmation
or classification of substances and materials in sealed containers, both non-invasively and nondestructively in field and
first response operations. Such substances include items such as hazardous/flammable liquids, drugs, contraband, and
precursor chemicals used in the fabrication of illicit materials. Our initial efforts focused specifically on a commercial
portable acoustic detector technology that was evaluated under operational conditions in a maritime environment.
Technical/operational limitations were identified and enhancements were incorporated that would address these
limitations. In this paper, application-specific improvements and performance testing/evaluation results will be
described. Such enhancements will provide personnel/users of the detector a significantly more reliable method of
screening materials for contraband items that might be hidden in cargo containers.