Autonomous, broad-spectrum detection of hazardous aerosols in seconds

Paul T. Steele, George R. Farquar, Audrey N. Martin, Keith R. Coffee, Vincent J. Riot, Sue I. Martin, David P. Fergenson, Eric E. Gard, Matthias Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Actual or surrogate chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive materials and illicit drug precursors can be rapidly detected and identified when in aerosol form by a Single-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometry (SPAMS) system. This entails not only the sampling of such particles but also the physical analysis and subsequent data analysis leading to a highly reliable alarm state. SPAMS hardware is briefly reviewed. SPAMS software algorithms are discussed in greater detail. A laboratory experiment involving actual threat and surrogate releases mixed with ambient background aerosols demonstrates broad-spectrum detection within seconds. Data from a field test at the San Francisco International Airport demonstrate extended field operation with an ultralow false alarm rate. Together these data sets demonstrate a significant and important advance in rapid aerosol threat detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4583-4589
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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