Portable Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) Bioanalyzer
Award last edited on: 4/21/2004

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Yvette D Mattley

Company Information

Ocean Optics Inc

830 Douglas Avenue
Dunedin, FL 34698
   (727) 733-2447
Location: Multiple
Congr. District: 12
County: Pinellas

Phase I

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The search for a fast and reliable field detection system for biological warfare agents continues more than a year after the anthrax scare that accompanied the terrorist attacks of "September 11th". False positives are a significant problem with the current detection systems because the markers used by these systems are not absolutely specific for the biological warfare agents they are trying to detect. The ideal detection system would provide rapid results with a minimum of sample preparation and no false positives. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a revolutionary new sensor technology that is an ideal candidate for this task. LIBS is a real-time detector that can require no sample preparation and can operate in the point sensing mode, as well as being capable of standoff detection. Furthermore, this technology can be developed into a compact, rugged, and relatively low-cost package with unprecedented performance. Ocean Optics, Inc. proposes to determine the uniqueness of LIBS spectra for various complex biochemicals and non-pathogenic microorganisms to determine the limits of sensitivity for detection and identification. Furthermore we propose to generate a library of standard spectra for these samples and perform interrogation on solid surfaces and in liquids and aerosols.

The result anticipated from Phase I is the determination of the feasibility of using LIBS to identify BW agents on surfaces and in liquids or aerosols and to delineate them from one another. In addition, it will result in the generation of a valuable database of LIBS spectral data. If Phase II is awarded, the portable LIBS system developed by Ocean Optics will be suitable for both military and civilian use. The commercial applications are immense not only for homeland defense but other environmental detection in the air ducts of hospitals, office buildings, apartment buildings and even homes. LIBS has applications in the metal detection and analysis market, determining the alloys in metals, engine oil analysis to determine engine wear, lead paint analysis and mining exploration. LIBS has the capability of being used in many applications presently being analyzed by MASS spectroscopy, which is costly, requires time consuming sample preparation and is anything but portable. LIBS could be the most exciting analytical tool to hit the analytical instrument industry in the past 10 years.

LIBS, Biological warfare agent detection , Bioanalyzer, Laser induced breakdown

Phase II

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