Explosives detection personnel portal

Award Year 

The Explosives Detection Personnel Portal wasdeveloped by Sandia National Laboratoriesthrough funding by the Federal AviationAdministration (FAA) to rapidly screen peoplefor trace amounts of explosives at sites such asairports. The person enters the portal andpauses while rapid puffs of air dislodge vaporand particles from the person’s clothing, skin,hair, and shoes. The portal draws the air andparticles into a preconcentrator thatconcentrates the explosive sample beforedelivery to a chemical detector.The portal’s major (more) advantage is Sandia’ssystems approach to the problem: collectingand delivering an excellent sample enhancesthe success of the detector. The portal candetect common explosives with a highsensitivity (up to parts per quadrillion). TheExplosives Detection Personnel Portal candetect whether people have been handlingexplosives or if they are carrying concealedexplosives. (The portal can also be configuredfor the detection of illicit drugs, i.e., for prisonapplications.)Sandia developed the portal for the FAA, andlicensed the sample collection andpreconcentration technology to BarringerInstruments, Inc., which was acquired bySmiths Detection. Smiths Detection nowmanufactures the SENTINEL explosivesdetection portal, which is in use at severalnuclear power plants in Canada and the U.S.;at several correctional institutions in Greece,Mexico, and the U.S. for drug-detectionapplications; at the Canadian National Towerin Canada; and in trials at Heathrow Airport inthe United Kingdom. The device is proposedfor trial installation at selected airports in theU.S. (less)