Detecting concealed contraband at sensitive locations (such as airports, government buildings, and borders) is important to prevent terrorism and organized crime. Most contraband detection instruments measure vapor profiles to detect explosives, drugs, or other harmful chemicals. However, analysis can be inaccurate if a contraband substance does not emit enough vapor for detection. Too little vapor would require expensive chromatography or mass spectrometry techniques to ensure all analytes are measured properly.
To address these issues, the Transportation Security Laboratory envisions a low-cost and efficient contraband detection system using Ion Mobility Spectrometry. The imagined device contains a filtering system that traps, collects, and transfers vapor from suspected threats into a detection system rapidly. This innovation amplifies the signal and effectively increases the limit of detection. The concentrated release of vapor molecules allows the system to accurately sample high air volumes and identify hard-to-detect contraband and threats.