Sandia National Laboratories,
Keywords: CWA, hand-portable, ultra-low false alarms
Summary:Sandia National Labs has developed a next-generation chemical identifier demonstrated to detect chemical warfare agents (CWA), biogenic volatiles, and industrial gases. This system has detected low-concentration CWA surrogates, in the presence of high-concentration interferents such as humidity, diesel fumes, and cleaning agents. It operates autonomously, has ultra-low false alarm rates, and is well-positioned for carriage on UAS, UGV, or as a soldier wearable. The core system components weigh < 200 grams including fixturing and circuit boards, meaning the entire system is easily portable and deployable. This three-stage system consists of a microfabricated chemical collector, a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography separation system (µGCxGC), and a miniature ion-mobility spectrometer (IMS) detector. It produces a four-dimensional information vector for each detected chemical: μGC-1 elution time, μGC-2 elution time, drift time (K0) from the IMS, and IMS signal amplitude. This produces significantly more identification information than a traditional detector-only system, and even meets or exceeds the identification information generated by portable mass spectrometer (MS) systems but at lower potential cost, size, weight, and power. We will present data on how four-dimensional identification information translates into an ability to discriminate chemical agent surrogates from interferences in complex mixtures with ultra-low false alarm rates.