System detects threats via vapors

Spectra-Fluidics has received a contract from TSA to develop an explosive detection system that uses microfluidics to detect chemical vapors

The US Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration (DHS/TSA) has awarded a $1.3 million contract to SpectraFluidics (Goleta, CA, USA) to enable it to develop and validate a vapor detection system that detects homemade explosives.

SpectraFluidics' patented technology works through the use of a microfluidic chip that is interrogated by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).

The microfluidic chip includes microfluidic channels, proprietary on-board sensing elements, and flow controllers. The microfluidic channels on the chip have been designed with a surface that is exposed to the surrounding atmosphere. This provides a high surface-to-volume ratio that allows for selective absorption of certain airborne molecules.

The microfluidic chip is interrogated using a proprietary Raman spectrometer to obtain high-sensitivity spectra of various analytes that are relevant to homeland security. Chemometrics algorithms are used to decompose the Raman spectra and identify specific chemicals that are detected by the sensor.

The company claims that the technology would be an improvement on current methods of detecting trace levels of chemicals, including explosives and other contraband, because of its ability to achieve high sensitivity, and specificity of vapor chemistries in a small footprint device.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

Webcasts

Applying 3D imaging to automation and robotics

With a focus on the use of 3D imaging in industrial automation and robotics, this webcast will begin by explaining exactly what 3D imaging encompasses and why the technique is important for industr...

Tips and techniques for improving OCR/OCV

Optical character recognition (OCR) and optical character verification (OCV) technologies offer many advantages in automation applications. They also involve some inherent challenges, which this we...
September 16, 2014

Making accurate measurements with machine vision software

In this webcast viewers will learn how to use machine vision to solve metrology tasks in factory automation and offline inspection applications. We will show how to choose the proper calibration an...
September 4, 2014

Choosing components for intelligent transportation systems

Intelligent transportation systems depend on the interoperation of sophisticated OEM components. This expert webcast will provide guidance on how to choose such components—including illumination sy...
July 22, 2014

Archives

Click here to view archived Vision Systems Design articles