Development of a Person-Portable GPS-Mounted Internet-Ready Explosive Sensor

Period of Performance: 01/23/2006 - 01/23/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Science & Technology Corp.
10 Basil Sawyer Drive
Hampton, VA 23666
Principal Investigator


It is proposed to develop an ultra-sensitive person-portable, HERO-safe, GPS-mounted, and internet-ready explosive detector of novel design. It will consist of an ion source based on corona discharge ionization. This source will ionize molecules of explosives present in ambient air. They will then be introduced into a miniature vacuum system through a device, recently developed by the PI, called "Supersonic Pulsed Jet Separator, SPJS" in the form of short bursts, thereby reducing the pumping requirements which make mass spectrometer based instruments bulky, heavy, and power consuming. The ions will be mass analyzed by a miniature time-of-flight mass spectrometer, also recently developed by the PI, and detected by a charged particle detector. During first phase of the proposed work the following has been accomplished: (1) Designed, built, and tested the corona discharge ion source, (2) fabricated the SPJS, (3) tested the combination for its ability to convert molecules present in ambient air into ions, and (4) prepared a conceptual design, based on data obtained during Phase I, of a person-portable detector that will be fabricated during the Phase II of the proposed work. During this phase, a prototype instrument will be built, tested, and characterized in the field.