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Researchers at China Lake have invented a field colorimetric test device that detects explosives, drugs, or lead, and improves existing technology by 50 percent. Skilled inventors include Roxanne L. Quintana, Alvin L. Quintana, and Martin W. Krauss.
Our Warfighters encounter many situations where they need to assess and determine if the situation is hostile or benign. Currently available field explosive detection kits are awkward, prone to mistakes, and difficult to use in non-ideal conditions. Accurate detection is easily thwarted by wind, improper staging areas, distractions, and contaminated hands. Current test devices require sampling gloves, are difficult to carry (multiple cans or bottles and sampling swabs), can easily be used wrong (adding reagents in the wrong order or the wrong quantity), and often require access to a flat surface for use.
In 2009, the DoD required a multi-test field kit that was small, lightweight, rugged, and had a one-year shelf life with the ability to operate in a variety of field environments (hot/cold/high/low humidity). Researchers at China Lake answered the call and invented a field colorimetric test device that does not require gloves and is easy to use, accurate and foolproof, refillable, disposable, and can detect anything that gives a colorimetric response to solid or liquid reagents. Professionals estimate that the remarkable invention has shown a 50 percent improvement over prior technology. The system is also adaptable, like a first-aid kit, and comes in a convenient all-in-one small packet. In addition, it has a sample now and analyze later capability.
How It Works
- Very easy to use. Detailed step-by-step instructions are intuitive and very easy to follow.
- Very convenient to carry. Having an all-in-one unit, rather than the multiple cans or bottles of reagents and separate sampling paper, means only one small packet is necessary to have the capability. With the individual packaging and robust design, it’s easy to grab a handful to put in a pocket, backpack, or glove compartment.
- Fool-proof design. With the ampoule selection device, the reagents can only be added in the correct order. Typically, the chemistry won’t work if the reagents are added out of order, so if the cans or bottles of reagents are mixed up, the test won’t give accurate results. The new design eliminates the potential for mixing up the reagents.
- Sample now analyze later capability. With the swab incorporated into the cap, a sample can be taken, the cap replaced, and analysis can be done at a later date, and the sample is protected.
- Ease of sampling. With the swab in the cap, sampling gloves are not required since the exterior of the cap is attached eliminating the likelihood of unintended contamination.
- Flexibility. The prototype units are set up to test for explosives, e.g., TNT, TATB, RDX, HMX, nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose, ammonium nitrate, urea nitrate, etc. However, the ampoules can be filled with other reagents, and the same design can be used to detect drugs, peroxide explosive, chlorate, and bromate explosives, etc. Basically, anything that will give a colorimetric response to liquid or solid reagents can be tested.
- DoD applications and Warfighters in the field
- Law enforcement
- Emergency response
- Workplace safety
- Concerned citizens
- Extremely easy to use
- Very convenient to carry
- Foolproof design
- Sample now -- analyze later capability
- Ease of sampling
- US patent 8,585,982 Field Colorimetric Test Device
- Patent available for licensing. Express licensing available.
- Prototype available
- Technical Readiness Level (TRL): 6