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 COMPAMED 2016 connected medical devices and people
23.11.2016 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Successfully transferring Industrie 4.0 into reality
21.11.2016 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>