A Multiband Wide Area Fluorescence Detection System

Period of Performance: 09/18/2002 - 09/17/2004


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Nomadics, Inc.
1024 S. Innovation Way
Stillwater, OK 74074
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 340
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Institution POC


This Phase II SBIR project is a continuation of the research in which we proved the feasibility of an approach to the wide area standoff detection of explosives. The approach consists of two main components: a fluorescing sensor mechanism and a photo-interrogation subsystem. Two types of sensor mechanisms are being evaluated. To this point in the project, we have concentrated on the use of beads coated with a remarkably sensitive amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP) that has previously been demonstrated to provide superior detection capabilities for explosives. A second sensor mechanism involving microbes will be further explored during the completion of Phase I. However, the results of the use of AFP-coated beads clearly indicates that this approach offers a promising mechanism for standoff detection. We have been able to spread beads over soil, interrogate them from a distance, and readily identify areas of TNT contamination. The response is strong, sensitive, and shows a high resistance to interference likely to be present in field environments. During Phase II, we will improve the bead-polymer construct for improved dispersal and response and will test delivery and interrogation systems under realistic field conditions. Similar research will be conducted using microbes. This approach to standoff detection will be valuable in locating areas of UXO and mine fields. Through functionalization of the polymer, analytes such as chemical agents, biological agents, and toxic industrials chemicals can be detected. This would permit the detection of harmful military, terrorist, and environmental contaminants at a distance, keeping personnel out of harm's way and allowing fast reconnaissance of large areas.