The insights provided by the trace explosive signature studies, along with the forensic analysis capabilities developed under those programs, positioned the Chemical, Microsystem, and Nanoscale Technologies Group to lead the Laboratory, along with the Chemical and Biological Defense Systems Group within the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division, in the study of a much broader set of chemical detection problems.

PhenomenologyPhenomenology work includes understanding how chemical traces interact with various materials in order to better develop means for their detection. This photo shows an experiment that studied the persistence of explosive traces on various building materials.

These problems include managing the aftermath of a dangerous chemical release, assessing the safety of a suspicious site, identifying concealed materials, and assisting in the development of canine training aids, just to name a few examples.

From results of investigations into chemical detection solutions, quantitative statistics of the spatial, compositional, and concentration variations of the key chemical signatures provide valuable input into models for comparing different sensing technologies and for developing new operational concepts for sensor use.











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