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Proceedings Paper

Differentiating bacterial spores from hoax materials by Raman spectroscopy
Author(s): Stuart Farquharson; Wayne W. Smith
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Paper Abstract

The bioterrorism of October 2001 caused by the distribution of anthrax through the U.S. postal system was compounded by the significant delay associated with positive identification of the Bacillus anthracis spores and the unknown extent of their distribution along the eastern seaboard. In the ensuing two years, literally thousands of hoaxes, letters containing harmless powders, have been mailed creating additional anxiety. Thus, there is a need for instruments and/or methods that can not only identify anthrax-causing spores to save lives, but also identify hoax materials to eliminate costly shutdowns. Here we present Raman spectra of Bacillus cereus spores, an anthrax surrogate, as well as of 30 common substances that might be used as hoax materials. We also examine the choice of laser excitation, 785 nm or 1064 nm, and its impact on the ability to measure visible particles in 5 minutes or less, and to provide a complete answer to the question of suspicious material identity.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2004
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 5269, Chemical and Biological Point Sensors for Homeland Defense, (8 March 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.510629
Show Author Affiliations
Stuart Farquharson, Real-Time Analyzers, Inc. (United States)
Wayne W. Smith, Real-Time Analyzers, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5269:
Chemical and Biological Point Sensors for Homeland Defense
Arthur J. Sedlacek; Richard Colton; Tuan Vo-Dinh, Editor(s)

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