3 July 2012
Technologies that bring detection capabilities equal to the “gold standard” of a dog’s nose have been added to the EADS Technology Licensing initiative’s portfolio – opening such applications as explosive and chemical threat identification, discovering drugs, in medical rooms, and at factories for the production of semiconductors.
These technologies stem from development of the Laser Ion Mobility Spectrometry (LIMS) sensor, which was evolved by EADS Innovation Works – the company’s research and technology organisation – and EADS’ Cassidian defence and security business unit.
Utilizing advanced dual-photon laser detection technology, LIMS collects and analyzes tiny amounts of vapour or particles much faster and more accurately than currently-available systems, with a significantly lower false alarm rate. Its use of a laser, rather than radiation sources employed in current-generation systems, provides LIMS with greater detection sensitivity, improved accuracy and increased throughput during inspections, while also making it safe for humans and animals.
In addition to its security-related uses for the detection of explosives and drugs, LIMS’ portability enables the sensor to be deployed in other applications – such as a desktop device for laboratory and general screening.
Among LIMS’ technology advantages are:
• Very fast detection, performed in milliseconds compared to seconds or minutes of other systems,
• Higher selectivity, as only the trace is ionized – making measurements less influenced by other materials with a higher vapour pressure (such as perfume), and more resistant to the influence of humidity,
• Very high sensitivity – measured in parts per trillion,
• Almost no saturation effects,
• Elimination of the need for a radioactive source or radiation in the ionisation of samples,
• Low power consumption, and
• Well suited for miniaturisation
“EADS’ many years of developing and evolving the LIMS sensor technology provides our licensees with ‘game changing’ capabilities across a broad spectrum of uses,” said Wulf Hoeflich, head of the EADS Technology Licensing initiative. “Additionally, the expertise of EADS scientists and engineers in laser ionization can be made available to our licensing partners.”
LIMS technologies were first evaluated for the detection of chemical and explosive threats, along with drugs – with the sensor incorporated in fixed or portable systems. During validation testing, the sensor successfully identified all targeted explosive elements, including black powder, TNT, ammonium nitrate, nitroglycerine, pentaerythritol tetranitrate and RDX. In addition to these solid and liquid elements, LIMS detected other explosive substances, thereby ensuring coverage across the most significant explosive threats.
In such applications, the EADS technology can be used for the screening of personnel and baggage in public locations, including airports, train and subway stations; at secure facilities, prisons, military bases and other sites; along with the monitoring of a building’s infrastructure and air conditioning system.
Cassidian’s market evaluations also identified uses of LIMS’ detection capabilities to find impurities during the production of semiconductors, and its employment in medical applications.
• Learn more about the EADS Technology Licensing initiatives’ achievements and activities with the archived news stories.