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Towards a compact, portable, handheld device for contactless real-time standoff detection of hazardous substances

: Carson, Christopher; Macarthur, John; Warden, Matthew; Stothard, David; Butschek, Lorenz; Hugger, Stefan; Jarvis, Jan-Philip; Härtelt, Marko; Ostendorf, Ralf; Merten, André; Schwarzenberg, Markus; Grahmann, Jan; Ratajczyk, Marcin


Andresen, Björn F. (Ed.) ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Infrared Technology and Applications XLIV : 15 - 19 April 2018, Orlando, Florida, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2018 (Proceedings of SPIE 10624)
Paper 106240F, 7 S.
Conference on Infrared Technology and Applications <44, 2018, Orlando/Fla.>
Fraunhofer IAF ()
Fraunhofer IPMS ()
Fraunhofer CAP ()
sensor; security; quantum-cascade laser; mid-infrared spectroscopy; standoff detection; real-time spectroscopy; portable; compact modeling

Here we report our recent achievements towards a compact, portable, handheld device for contactless real-time detection and identification of explosives and hazardous substances via reflectance spectroscopy in the 7.5 μm – 10 μm spectral region. The mid-IR spectroscopic measurement principle relies on selective illumination of the target using broadly tunable external cavity quantum cascade lasers (EC-QCLs). A resonant micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems(MOEMS) grating enables fast wavelength tuning in the external cavity, allowing the full spectral scan to be completed in <1 ms. The diffusely backscattered light’s intensity dependence on illumination wavelength provides spectroscopic information to identify threat compounds via our spectral database, containing a large number of materials relevant in a security context. We present a handheld portable, albeit tethered, device capable of real-time identification of hazardous substances at a range of 1 m. We will outline future improvements to increase the system’s usability, such as integrated computing power, automated focusing to that allow use over a range of detection distances and spatial scanning for background subtraction.