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Proceedings Paper

Quantum cascade laser-based screening portal for the detection of explosive precursors
Author(s): Ruth Lindley; Erwan Normand; Iain Howieson; Michael McCulloch; Paul Black; Colin Lewis; Brian Foulger
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Paper Abstract

In recent years, quantum cascade lasers (QCL) have been proven in robust, high-performance gas analyzers designed for continuous emission monitoring (CEM) in harsh environments. In 2006, Cascade Technologies reported progress towards adapting its patented technology for homeland security applications by publishing initial results on explosive compound detection. This paper presents the performance and results from a QCL-based people screening portal developed during the past year and aimed at the detection of precursors used in the make up of improvised explosive devices (IED). System tests have been carried out on a large number of potential interferents, together with target precursor materials, reinforcing original assumptions that compound fingerprinting can be effectively demonstrated using this technique. Results have shown that an extremely high degree of specificity can be achieved with a sub-second response time. Furthermore, it has been shown that unambiguous precursor signature recognition can be extended to compound mixtures associated with the intermediate stages in the make up of IEDs, whilst maintaining interferent immunity. The portal sensitivity was configured for parts per billion (ppb) detection level thresholds, but is currently being reconfigured for sub-ppb detection. In summary, the results obtained from the QCL based portal indicate that development of a low cost detection system, with enhanced features such as low false positive and high throughput screening of individuals or items, is possible. Development and testing was carried out with the support of the UK government.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6741, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting III, 67410P (8 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.738053
Show Author Affiliations
Ruth Lindley, Cascade Technologies (United Kingdom)
Erwan Normand, Cascade Technologies (United Kingdom)
Iain Howieson, Cascade Technologies (United Kingdom)
Michael McCulloch, Cascade Technologies (United Kingdom)
Paul Black, Cascade Technologies (United Kingdom)
Colin Lewis, Ministry of Defense SA/SD (United Kingdom)
Brian Foulger, Ministry of Defense SA/SD (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6741:
Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting III
Colin Lewis, Editor(s)

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