Available Technology


Terrorist and other criminals who come into contact with certain contraband are likely to become contaminated by trace deposits of those contraband materials through active or passive transfer of these chemical compounds.  Identification of these chemical compounds and individuals will allow authorities to screen for terrorist and narcotic traffickers more effectively.           

Of particular concern to law enforcement authorities is the concealment of explosives in shoes at inspection points for entry into government and military installations; this type of concealment has led to the requirement for all airline passengers to have their footwear removed and screened. Sampling footwear without removal could lead to improvements with passenger compliance and elimination of long security check point lines. Aerodynamic sampling of people, cargo, and other objects is an emerging technology.

Devices that apply aerodynamic sampling to remove trace particles from target surfaces exist but do not ensure that all dislodged particles are transported efficiently to a collector; therefore, such devices are ineffective at maximizing the transport efficiency of particulate matter once they are liberated from surfaces due to loss or spillage out of the sampling system. 

The “Aerodynamic Shoe Sampling System” is an improved “front end” extraction portion of a chemical collection apparatus that minimizes spillage or washout of the sample during collection from the targeted surface. It uses high-pressure air jets and knives effectively to remove small particles of explosives, narcotics and other chemical agents from target footwear surfaces without the need for physical contact.  The liberation of these chemicals eliminates sample loss through methods that use a physical device for particle abstraction such as brushes or wipe cloths even if the trace compounds are greasy, oily, and/or sticky.



The apparatus disclosed herein pertains to the field of trace explosives or narcotics detection. The apparatus comprises the front-end particle dislodge and sample intake portion of a chemical trace detection system utilizing aerodynamic flow as a transport mechanism. Whereby compounds indicative of explosives or narcotics contamination are liberated from target surfaces of foot or footwear and then transported by air flow to a sample accumulation feature for chemical analysis. The apparatus is intended for inclusion with additional components, including an efficient chemical pre-concentrator, a thermal desorption unit, and a chemical analyzer/detector to achieve a complete chemical trace detection system.


No physical contact; Complete sample collection

Stefan Lukow, Matthew Staymates
Patent Number: 
Technology Type(s): 
Homeland Security, Biochemical Science, Chemical Science, Chemical Physics, Thermodynamics, Safety and Reliability
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Patent Status: 
Patent Issued on May 29, 2018
Patent Issue Date: 
May 29, 2018
Lab Representatives
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