It is at all times good to be honored for a job nicely executed—even higher to share the popularity with your folks. That’s simply what occurred when an modern new chemical detection know-how referred to as SEDONA, or SpEctroscopic Detection of Nerve Agents, was acknowledged as a 2020 R&D 100 Award-winner.

SEDONA is the results of a joint analysis and improvement effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and our companions on the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). When deployed at safety checkpoints, border crossings, and ports of entry throughout the nation, SEDONA will improve DHS’s skills to detect and intercept harmful chemical compounds and nerve brokers. We’d name this a win-win.

“DHS staff members in the field need to be able to safely and efficiently scan for and detect chemicals, nerve agents, and related substances that can pose a threat to our citizens,” mentioned S&T program supervisor Dr. Don Bansleben. “To ensure that they always have cutting-edge tools at their disposal, we continuously work with our various partners and subject matter experts to review new and improved technologies that can help these frontline operators address and mitigate emerging threats.”

SEDONA is a user-friendly, transportable, prototype chemical agent detection system that makes use of an ultra-low-field nuclear magnetic resonance approach to shortly and precisely detect chemical threats in smaller-sized bottles and containers—with no need to open them.

“SEDONA works by scanning and analyzing liquids to check for the presence of specific chemical elements that are key components in organophosphorus nerve agents and related chemical threats,” mentioned Dr. Bob Williams, LANL Bioscience Division staff lead. “These elements respond in very specific ways when they are exposed to SEDONA’s electromagnetic field. Each one has a unique radio frequency, also known as a ‘signature,’ at which they resonate when SEDONA’s electromagnetic radiation passes through them.”

The system acknowledges these signatures, and by measuring their quantities and ratios, determines whether or not a nerve or chemical agent is current.  Benign liquids reminiscent of shampoo, toothpaste, and bottles of water and different drinks won’t include chemical parts of curiosity. Nerve brokers and associated chemical threats, nonetheless, will exhibit a singular signature, often called “J-coupling,” which can be instantly detected and red-flagged by SEDONA in lower than 10 seconds.

“SEDONA was recognized with an R&D 100 Award due to the fact that it’s a groundbreaking technology—the first of its kind,” defined Williams. “Until now, there has never been a tool with SEDONA’s capabilities.”

“We believe in the importance of fostering technological and scientific advancements in the fields of checkpoint, border, and port security,” defined Bansleben. “This is why we supported LANL in their efforts to develop SEDONA. We’re very proud of their achievements and are thrilled that they were recognized with this prestigious award.”

Preliminary testing information from LANL signifies that SEDONA has the potential to be a promising secondary screening device at safety checkpoints, border crossings, and ports within the close to future. However, earlier than it’s  carried out within the area, the LANL staff is working to increase SEDONA’s screening capabilities to detect key parts which can be present in different sorts of nerve brokers, liquid explosives, and opioids; automate the method; and conduct extra area testing to verify its efficacy.

Bansleben famous that SEDONA might be helpful in a variety of fields and venues.

“Federal agencies may find SEDONA to be a versatile screening tool for helping to mitigate the unlawful entry, dissemination, and use of nerve and chemical agents, liquid explosives, and drugs,” mentioned Bansleben. “However, it also has the potential to be effective in other settings such as courthouses, sporting arenas, correctional facilities, government buildings, and any other highly-trafficked areas where security and safety are of the utmost priority.”

Read more at DHS S&T

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