Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Analytica 2012 - On the safe side: contact-free analysis of chemical substances

17.04.2012
Is it drugs, medicines or explosives? At the Analytica trade fair, Fraunhofer researchers, joined by the Hübner Company, are presenting a terahertz spectrometer that provides reliable, contact-free identification of substances.

December 2011: Security forces intercept a letter bomb addressed to Josef Ackermann, the head of Deutsche Bank. At almost the same moment, a letter bomb explodes in an office in Rome. The hand of the manager in charge of Equitalia, the tax-collection authority, was injured.


T-Cognition identifies chemicals, explosives or drugs, quickly and contact-free. A database comparison identifies any suspicious spectra and displays them on screen. © Hübner GmbH

Until now, police officers or security staff have had to conduct painstaking inspections of any suspicious parcels and letters by hand - an error-prone approach. At the end of 2011, though, the scanner T-Cognition 1.0 from Hübner company of Kassel, Germany, went on the market. The device, developed with the assistance of Fraunhofer researchers, detects, without contact, substances such as drugs or explosives contained in unopened letters or flat packages. The partners will be demonstrating the scanner at the Analytica trade fair in Munich (April 17-19) at the joint Fraunhofer stand (Stand 433/530 in Hall A1).

„You place the suspicious parcels or letters in a kind of drawer, and the device uses terahertz waves to determine whether it contains explosives. This protects confidentiality, and the mail can then be delivered safely,“ explains Dr. Joachim Jonuscheit, deputy division director at the Kaiserslautern facility of the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and the researcher in charge of terahertz analysis there. The attacks in Rome and Frankfurt fueled the security industry‘s interest in the analysis device.

„Most dielectric materials, such as plastics, clothing or paper, are transparent to microwaves and can also be penetrated by terahertz waves with comparatively low reduction. For non-destructive non-destructive testing, the terahertz range is extremely interesting,“ the expert adds. On the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz waves can be found at the junction between microwaves and infrared radiation. The frequency range extends from 100 GHz to 10 THz; this corresponds to a wavelength from 3 mm to 30 µm. Terahertz waves combine the benefits of the adjoining spectral ranges: high penetration depth and low scatter, accompanied by good spatial resolution and the capability of spectral identification of unknown substances.

Like radiation in the infrared range, Terahertz waves reveal a substance‘s spectral signature. The measurement device features a database with the spectral „fingerprints“ of hazardous materials and can be extended to include additional materials at any time. The device compares the spectral fingerprint of the substance to analyze with values in its database and returns a clear result. The scanner operates using transmission and reflection analysis. In safety checks, the terahertz wave offers low-loss penetration of envelopes made of paper or plastic to detect any chemical substances within. If a package contains, say, metal – as housing for an explosive device – the wave is reflected and measured by the receiver. This is how suspicious packages can be identified quickly.

Now the researchers also want to gain a foothold in the pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries. „Up until now, makers of pharmaceuticals had to prepare extra samples if they wanted to find out whether the mixture ratio in a particular drug was right, whether the chemical was in the desired crystalline structure, and whether quality was all right,“ Jonuscheit points out. „Depending on the substance and the material involved, our device clearly detects all of the chemicals found. It also provides basic analysis of the mixture ratio of multiple substances.

Terahertz analysis also allows conclusions about the substances‘ crystalline structure. For instance, you can determine whether a potentially unwanted recrystallization has taken place. In the future, this can spare chemicals and pharmaceuticals manufacturers painstaking preliminary analysis and sample preparation,“ the expert points out.

Dr. Joachim Jonuscheit | Fraunhofer-Institute
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/april/on-the-safe-side-contact-free-analysis-of-chemical-substances.html

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht The Micro Nanotech area at MD&M West has been successfully established
22.02.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”
21.02.2017 | EML European Media Laboratory GmbH

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>