The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has built a compact trace vapor generator for explosives and narcotics (TV-Gen) for testing and calibrating trace chemical detectors used by law enforcement officials. The device is available, via patent license agreement, to businesses for commercialization.
The trace vapor detection of explosives and narcotics is critical to guarding borders and high-value targets.
Sensors used by law enforcement officials and transportation security officers are designed to detect extremely small concentrations of explosives and narcotics in the parts-per-million range.
Scientific research and development efforts are currently underway to produce new sensors with parts per quadrillion detection capabilities. Both current and future trace chemical detectors require initial calibration and periodic testing for reliability and accuracy.
Many narcotics and explosives have chemicals with low vapor pressures that make it difficult to accurately produce trace vapors in the small amounts needed.
Current vapor generation techniques, such as ink-jet droplet formation or chemical deposition on quartz wool or glass beads placed in temperature controlled zones, are used to generate trace vapors but are hampered by pulsed or steadily declining streams. It can also be difficult to change concentrations for dynamic range studies with these techniques. And none of these techniques offer the capability of switching between clean and analyte air streams.
To address the above deficiencies, Navy researchers built the TV-Gen to consistently and accurately generates trace vapors of low vapor pressure compounds in the parts per quadrillion to parts per million range.
The TV-Gen consists of a control box and an oven that can be heated to 130°C. Trace compounds are introduced to a diluent air-vapor stream via nebulization, which effectively vaporizes compounds that otherwise decompose at elevated temperatures.
The perfluoroalkoxy total-consumption microflow nebulizer is coupled to a Pneumatically Modulated Liquid Delivery System. The manifold is contained within the oven to ensure minimal adsorption of analytes or explosives to the surfaces and was designed to be easily exchanged and can be totally disassembled for thorough cleaning.
The TV-Gen was used in the advancement of the silicon nanowire trace chemical detection technology also from NRL. These trace vapor technologies are available for license to U.S. and foreign companies, together or separately, depending on business needs.
These technologies are capable of government trace chemical vapor standards compliance in the U.S and abroad.
- An online validation system attached to the sample port provides near real-time verification of the analytes from parts per million (ppm) to parts per quadrillion (ppq) levels
- Provides a single vapor output with a dual manifold that can be easily switched between clean air and trace levels of analytes
- TV-Gen has been demonstrated for explosives, narcotics and toxic industrial chemicals, including extensive studies of the following explosives: nitromethane, nitroglycerine, ethylene glycol dinitrate, triacetone triperoxide, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, pentaerythritol tetranitrate, and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine
- Businesses can commericialize the technology by licensing patent serial number 16/276,398 along with US patents 9,422,158 and 10,167,192; US application 20180237294; and five issued international patents or applications (JP, EP, KR)
- TechLink navigates companies through licensing at no cost
- License fees paid to the Navy are negotiable
- Five units have been built and are in use
- Potential for collaboration with the Navy