Chemical Nanosensors/IED detectors

Nanomaterials, multiparametric electro-optical transduction and cost effective fabrication methods allow for the development of novel chemosensors/sensor arrays for precise and reliable detection of various gases. Integration of a transducer and analyzing elements with sensory nanocomposite can significantly improve the device's performance: dramatically increase sensitivity and selectivity, reduce response and recovery time, make it robust and cost effective. In particular, we are now working on the development of nanocomposite optical chemosensors for explosives detection, where a one-dimensional nanoporous photonic crystal is infiltrated with fluorescent sensory organics. 1a, 4a, 7a, 8a, 14a, 1b, 2b

Images of the prototypes for explosive detection Mark-I (left) and Mark-II (right).

Emitech has two fully functional prototypes, the Mark I handheld detector, and the Mark II for installation on robotic vehicles. The prototypes have demonstrated fast and accurate detection of the most common and nitroexplosives: PETN, RDX and TNT. This technology is capable of detecting both particulates and vapors of explosive materials using a real-time sampling system (no swabbing) based on the thermal air-jet technique. Our prototypes demonstrate much better selectivity of nitroaromatic interferants when compared to a commercially available portable detector for explosives 1a, 4a, 8a. This R&D project was funded by a U.S. Army SBIR Phase I and Phase II contracts. Mark I and Mark II were tested by U.S Army representatives and Corporation X (a Fortune 500 company)– world leader in explosive detection and demonstrated excellent performance. Also Mark-II had a very successful testing in Washington DC by Department of State representatives. This technology is ITAR free and available for the international market.  

The next generation of our nanosensors is a Mark-III prototype based on multiparametric sensing and sensor array architecture providing the detection and classification of different groups of explosive threats including homemade explosives.  Because the sensor array can be tuned practically to any group of target vapors, this sensing platform has great promises for application for border control (explosives, CWAs, narcotics), environmental monitoring (hazard vapors), gas/oil pipeline leakage inspection (hydrocarbons), noninvasive breath diagnostics, food industry, etc.  The sensor array’s small size and lightweight property makes it suitable to be installed on a robotic vehicle (including aerial and underwater unmanned systems). In 2016, Emitech was awarded the SBIR Navy grant for the development of sensor array for underwater explosive trace detection integrated with an underwater unmanned system.

The video shows detection of RDX with surface concentration of 2 µg per cm2 by Mark-II prototype equipped with Emitech's proprietary sampling system, which allows to detect RDX in real time mode, avoiding swabbing and any contact with the inspected surface (RDX/PETN real time detection without swabbing is not possible for commercially available explosive detectors).