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Detecting illegal drugs and pollutants.

A sensor technology that holds great promise for use in the war against drugs, as well as in the detection of chemical weapons and industrial pollutants, has been developed by AIL System, Inc., Deer Park N. Y. Known as the Remote Monitoring Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS), the device employs advanced spectral processing techniques to detect and identify otherwise imperciptible trace of gases and vapors released into the atmosphere during drug and chemical production, chemical warfare, and industrial manufacturing. Electronics circuits are trained to "look" for molecules know be present in these effluents. (Each type of molecule had a unique "special fingerprint," and thus c be distinguished from others.

It differs from other methods of effluent detection and analysis in that physical contract of the with molecules themselves is not required. Rather, the Remote Monitoring FTS compares the intensity of infared light detected at many different wavelengths to determine whether or not a part type of molecule - and, therefore, chemical solvent or agent - is present. The device can be mounted on a moving platform, such as an unmanned airborne vehicle, plane, helicopter, ground vehicle, space platform. or sea vessel. Current monitoring system must remain stationary to work effectively.

Unlike other spectrometers, the spectral resolution of the Remote Monitoring FTS can be adjusted giving it up to 10 times the detection sensitivity of fixed-resolution instruments. This will make i to identify an illegal drug manufacturing plant from a remote location and discern the types of chem processing taking place inside before actually approaching or entering the facility. drug enforcemen agents will be able to detect and analyze the illegal activity in a covert - adding a tremendous weapon to the anti-drug arsenal.

In combat, military personnel will be able to use the Remote Monitoring FTS to determine whether or not deadly chemicals have been released into the atmosphere. The devise can be sent ahead of troops, protecting personnel from potential exposure to chemical weapons as they enter c contaminate area.

A third application is in the detection and analyses of industrial emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, could use the technology to monitor facilities suspected of violatin pollution regulations without having to place chemical detection analysis equipment in the property, Managers of commercial operations. Such as manufacturing and processing plants, can measure their own emission, while also monitoring pollutants put out by other facilities. Thus capability will bec increasingly important as the sale or sharing of "clean space" becomes more prevalent.
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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