SpectraFluidics and U.S. Army expand SERS partnership

May 1, 2009
May 1, 2009--SpectraFluidics (Santa Barbara, CA), a company that specializes in developing trace-level chemical detection technology, recently expanded its relationship with the U.S. Army to develop the next generation of handheld explosive detectors. The proposed lightweight, portable device combines free-surface microfluidics and nanoparticle techniques with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).

May 1, 2009--SpectraFluidics (Santa Barbara, CA), a company that specializes in developing trace-level chemical detection technology, recently expanded its relationship with the U.S. Army to develop the next generation of handheld explosive detectors. The proposed lightweight, portable device combines free-surface microfluidics and nanoparticle techniques with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Chemical detection is a rapidly developing technology area today, with several other handheld optical products becoming available (see "Smiths Detection launches handheld spectrometer to identify suspicious substances" and "Handheld spectrometer for chemical identification by Ahura Scientific").

The three-year contract between SpectraFluidics, UC Santa Barbara's Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB) and the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center builds on the partnership begun in 2008, under which SpectraFluidics first developed and proved its advanced, chemical detection technology for explosives and biohazards. This new agreement allows for further development of the detector device. According to SpectraFluidics, other technologies on the market cannot be easily reduced in size without suffering significant performance degradation.

"Detection of Improvised Explosive Devices is one of the Army's most pressing issues," said Craig Cummings, CEO of SpectraFluidics. "Our detector is highly sensitive, molecular specific, and will detect a wide range of explosive agents, including homemade, improvised explosives."

The SpectraFluidics patented technology allows for the direct detection of trace levels of airborne explosives with minimal user interaction. Ultimately, the device will provide real-time sampling and detection of trace amounts of explosives in either vapor phase or condensed media phase. "Our novel microfluidic/SERS device allows us to overcome the limitations of previous Raman systems aimed at explosives detection, resulting in significant improvement in detection sensitivity, selectivity and specificity," said Carl Meinhart, CTO of SpectraFluidics. "It is designed to function in non-ideal environments, and has the unique ability to discriminate energetic molecules from background clutter."

For more information, go to www.spectrafluidics.com.

--Posted by Gail Overton, [email protected]; www.laserfocusworld.com.

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