Enhanced Buried Explosive Detection System

Period of Performance: 02/18/2003 - 12/19/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Principal Investigator


The goal of this multi-phase project is to develop a trace explosives detection system to reliably locate land mines from a vehicle traveling at walking pace. Under the Phase I program ADA Technologies will apply advanced geochemical techniques, which have previously been used to detect oil and gas and base metal mineralization lying beneath tens to thousands of meters of overburden, to the problem of locating buried explosives. The Phase I program will demonstrate a novel and elegant approach to enhance the detectability of traces of TNT, RDX, 2,4, DNT and two of the common degradation products of TNT, 2A-DNT (2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene) and 4A-DNT (4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene). The Phase I program will use atmospheric pressure chemical ionization/tandem mass spectrometry (ACPI/MS/MS) as the analytical system to define the best operating parameters of the proposed approach. The Phase I Option program will include a demonstration of the approach with field samples known to be contaminated with explosives from buried explosives. Candidate analytical devices for Phase II will investigated. In Phase II, ADA will build a prototype fieldable unit. A successful demonstration of the proposed concept will accelerate the detection and destruction of the more than 100 million land mines that are dispersed throughout the world and which injure, or kill over 20,000 men, women and children annually. The proposed approach also has a potential commercial application for screening cargo containers, luggage, airline passengers and vehicles for traces of contraband explosives and terrorist devices.