Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Materials as Selective Recognition Sorbents for Explosives: A Review


Explosives are of significant interest to homeland security departments and forensic investigations. Fast, sensitive and selective detection of these chemicals is of great concern for security purposes as well as for triage and decontamination in contaminated areas. To this end, selective sorbents with fast binding kinetics and high binding capacity, either in combination with a sensor transducer or a sampling/sample-preparation method, are required. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) show promise as cost-effective and rugged artificial selective sorbents, which have a wide variety of applications.

VOCCluster: Untargeted Metabolomics Feature Clustering Approach for Clinical Breath Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry Data

Preprint at ChemRxiv

Our unsupervised clustering technique, VOCCluster, prototyped in Python, handles features of deconvolved GC-MS breath data. VOCCluster was created from a heuristic ontology based on the observation of experts undertaking data processing with a suite of software packages. VOCCluster identifies and clusters groups of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from deconvolved GC-MS breath with similar mass spectra and retention index profiles.

Miniaturized high-performance drift tube ion mobility spectrometer


Developing powerful hand-held drift tube ion mobility spectrometers (IMS) requires small, lightweight drift tubes with high analytical performance. In this work, we present an easy-to-manufacture, miniaturized drift tube ion mobility spectrometer, which is manufactured from polyether ether ketone, stainless steel foils and printed circuit boards.

Convolutional neural networks for automated targeted analysis of raw gas chromatography–mass spectrometry data

Through their breath, humans exhale hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can reveal pathologies, including many types of cancer at early stages. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is an analytical method used to separate and detect compounds in the mixture contained in breath samples. The identification of VOCs is based on the recognition of their specific ion patterns in GC-MS data, which requires labour-intensive and time-consuming preprocessing and analysis by domain experts.

Ergonomics Systems Mapping for Professional Responder Inter-operability in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Events


A European consensus was developed as a concept of operations (CONOPS) for cross-border, multi-professional chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) responses. AcciMaps were co-designed with professional responders from military, fire, ambulance, and police services in UK, Finland and Greece. Data were collected using document analysis from both open and restricted sources to extract task and operator information, and through interviews with senior staff representatives (Gold or Silver Command level).

Sprayed liquid-gas extraction of semi-volatile organophosphate Malathion from air and contaminated surfaces


In this study, a new air sampling method termed sprayed liquid–gas extraction (SLGE) was developed for semi-volatile organic compounds. Water droplets with an average diameter of less than 10 μm were created, using a flow blurring nebulizer from distilled water and the gas-phase sample. This allowed the fast, simple and highly-efficient enrichment of trace levels of the widely used organophosphate insecticide malathion, which is also an accepted simulant for the potent nerve-agent VX.

Sprayed liquid-gas extraction in combination with ion mobility spectrometry: a novel approach for the fast determination of semi-volatile compounds in air and from contaminated surfaces

We developed a fast, simple and highly-efficient enrichment procedure for trace levels of semi volatile organic compounds from air and surfaces and combined it with ion mobility spectrometry as field-deployable and rapid analytical technique. Our new technique, the sprayed liquid-gas extraction, was developed and optimized to allow the enrichment of semi volatile organic compounds.

Robotic and autonomous countermeasures

Security and defence discussions are now filled with speculation about robot weapons and artificial intelligence (AI). The problem is, security cannot be built on robotic weapons, autonomous systems or AI alone. Autonomous systems are more like operating platforms and firing systems than weapons per se. For example, electro-optical weapons, firearms, missiles, and nuclear weapons are defined by their impact. Robotised features simply increase that impact.

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