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Gas analytic instruments: ways to counter terror

In the present conditions the problem of protecting human lives is getting especially acute. Since the 1980s the staff members of the Design-and-Technological Institute of Instrument Engtneering for Geophysics and Ecology (DTI IEGE), the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences have been developing and making highly efficient analytic devices to detect and identify explosive, toxic and narcotic substances (ES, TS, NS). On the basis of high-speed multycapillary columns and remote vortex sampling a new type of portable express gas chromatographs of the ECHO series has been developed.

The ECHO gas chromatographs have been certified by the GosStandard of the Russian Federation. The ECHO–M device has been provided to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Internal Forces and it is used by the General Prosecutor Office. The mobile chromato-mass-spectrometer has been supplied to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

The ECHO-A – highly sensitive portable gas detector-analyzer – is one of the best devices as compared with the similar foreign ones. It has no analogs in Russia. The device is designed to conduct express analyses of ES and TS. It can also be used for detecting explosives both in gaseous and liquid media: for this purpose it has various sample injection devices. In contrast to the ECHO-M instrument with argon as a carrier-gas, this modification uses purified air. That makes it exceptionally convenient for operations in field conditions.

The ECHO-V detector-analyzer can successfully be used for controlling premises, motor vehicle transport, luggage, postal items so as to detect concealed explosives, determine those persons, who were in contact with explosives. It is also of much help in preventing terrorist acts and investigating them, detecting toxic substances in the environment (air, water, soil).

Limit of detecting capacity:

  • TNT – 10–14 g/cm3,
  • V (VX-gases) – 9.5•10–6 mg/m3,
  • mustard (HD) – MPC in work area (2•10-4 mg/m3).

Analyzing time – 5 to 30 seconds.

Ion mobility increment spectrometer: a new hand-held detection device

With the help of this device it becomes possible to detect and identify the wide spectrum of substances: ES, TS, NS. The device response time is 1–3 seconds, i.e. time needed to examine suspicious objects amounts to seconds.

Limit of detecting the most widely used explosives:

  • TNT – 10–14 g/cm3
  • dinitrotoluene – 10–15 g/cm3;

The for express nondestructive monitoring the contents of sealed vessels under field conditions.

The instrument is used for determining contents of ammunition and identifying TS and ES. It conducts the elemental analysis through the use of pulse neutron generators. The equipment can be applied to check baggage and hand luggage for ES.

Time required for a single analysis is from 20 to 300 seconds; the measurement and identification process is fully automated.

Russia's first mobile chromato-mass-spectrometer

The device is designed for conducting express analysis of volatile organic substances on spots of sampling, detecting and identifying ES, NS, TS under field conditions. It can be easily transported (the device weighs 90kg).

The device has a registration number 22980-02 on the list of measuring tools at the State Register Office (Gosreestr) of the Russian Federation and is protected by three Russian patents. It was successfully tested for detecting NS at customhouses of the Moscow and Novosibirsk airports.

Areas of device application:

  • detecting of concealed narcotic and explosive substances by odor;
  • enviromental montoring of dangerous substances under field and complex operating conditions.

Detection limit of  harmful substances: in air, enrichment mode 10–14 g/cm3, from extracts 10–5 mg/dm3.

Measurement interval in automatic regime 10 to 100 analysis/hour.

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