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Proceedings Paper

Potential for portal detection of human chemical and biological contamination
Author(s): Gary S. Settles; William J. McGann
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Paper Abstract

The walk-through metal-detection portal is a paradigm of non-intrusive passenger screening in aviation security. Modern explosive detection portals based on this paradigm will soon appear in airports. This paper suggests that the airborne trace detection technology developed for that purpose can also be adapted to human chemical and biological contamination. The waste heat of the human body produces a rising warm-air sheath of 50-80 liters/sec known as the human thermal plume. Contained within this plume are hundreds of bioeffluents from perspiration and breath, and millions of skin flakes. Since early medicine, the airborne human scent was used in the diagnosis of disease. Recent examples also include toxicity and substance abuse, but this approach has never been quantified. The appearance of new bioeffluents or subtle changes in the steady-state may signal the onset of a chemical/biological attack. Portal sampling of the human thermal plume is suggested, followed by a pre-concentration step and the detection of the attacking agent or the early human response. The ability to detect nanogram levels of explosive trace contamination this way was already demonstrated. Key advantages of the portal approach are its rapidity and non-intrusiveness, and the advantage that it does not require the traditional bodily fluid or tissue sampling.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2001
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4378, Chemical and Biological Sensing II, (22 August 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.438184
Show Author Affiliations
Gary S. Settles, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
William J. McGann, Ion Track Industries (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4378:
Chemical and Biological Sensing II
Patrick J. Gardner, Editor(s)

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