Portable Chemical Sensor


A new portable instrument weighs just a few pounds but is just as powerful as full-scale laboratory chemical instruments. Developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the instrument can analyze chemicals in seconds and uses a helium neon laser, tunable filters, and a photo sensor to detect toxic chemicals, TNT, byproducts from explosives, drugs and hundreds of chemicals.

The technique illuminates a sample with the laser and then measures the light that reflects off of it. It reveals the vibration energies of chemicals in response to the laser, and these frequencies are unique to each individual chemical. The instrument could find uses in environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, health protection, food inspection, law enforcement and military applications.

"Instead of taking a sample and having to send it off to a laboratory, where it may take days to get the results, this instrument will enable people to get an instant analysis of samples in the field," said Tuan Vo-Dinh, a group leader and corporate fellow in the Life Sciences Division of ORNL.

"This will result in a great reduction not only in time but also in cost."

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LINK to NYS environmental doctor

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