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Proceedings Paper

Qualitative/semiquantitative chemical characterization of the Auburn Olfactometer
Author(s): Susan F. Hallowell; John P. Davies; Garold L. Gresham
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Paper Abstract

Although canines are routinely used to search for both explosives and illicit drugs, little is actually known about the detection thresholds of dogs for these substances. Federally funded studies have been initiated at Auburn University to characterize these threshold levels and to determine which chemical substances canines are cueing on. As a part of this study, a specialized vapor generator has been designed to deliver odorants to canines. The study described herein characterizes the output of this vapor generator, called an Olfactometer, utilizing multiple sensitive detection methods. For this study, an independently calibrated ion mobility spectrometer and a SCIEX tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer were used to characterize the output of the Olfactometer with the explosive C-4 as a target substance. It was found that the primary chemical in the system was cyclohexanone, a solvent used in the purification process for C-4. No trace of RDX, the explosive compound, could be found in the system, expect in the generator reservoir itself. This study suggests several improvements that could be made to the Olfactometer, including the implementation of a new post use purging procedure to prevent cross contamination from study to study. Additionally, data suggest that dogs may in fact be cueing on the presence of cyclohexanone mixed with hydrocarbons rather than the explosive itself.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 October 1994
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2276, Cargo Inspection Technologies, (6 October 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.189192
Show Author Affiliations
Susan F. Hallowell, FAA Technical Ctr. (United States)
John P. Davies, Idaho National Engineering Lab. (United States)
Garold L. Gresham, Idaho National Engineering Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2276:
Cargo Inspection Technologies
Andre H. Lawrence, Editor(s)

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