Chemical Detection Tech Will Equip Warfighters With New Tools

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office (DTRA JSTO) awarded a contract to FLIR Systems for chemical-detection technologies based on ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology. The program’s overall goal is to provide warfighters with small, fast, interconnected chemical detection and identification tools for a wide range of scenarios. The three-year contract is potentially worth $8 million.

FLIR will team with Purdue University to develop ion mobility design and two-dimensional mass spectrometry (2D MS/MS) into a modular chemical-detection system. The system will be lightweight enough for one person to carry for downrange chemical screening, and can also function as a sensor payload for unmanned vehicles, and as an embedded real-time monitor for chemical releases. 

The sensors will be able to collect large amounts of data from one sample, thus removing the need for pre-recorded data libraries of known threats. The complete system will include modular front-ends to facilitate wider sampling analysis, as well as multiple options for communication protocols, power inputs, and other links.

“We’re proud to have the opportunity to lead this effort to develop and deliver innovative point-sensing technology for use on the frontlines,” said Dr. David Cullin, vice president in the Sensors business at FLIR. “Speedy and accurate chemical classification is paramount to countering these dangerous threats. We’re excited to work with Purdue University on a system that will provide our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines with life-saving solutions.”