Sample Acquisition Technology (SAT)
There are various ways that samples may be acquired for submission to the TeknoScan analyzer system. Other systems may collect samples in some of the ways as discussed below, but their approaches may not work in some contexts. Because not all methods are available to these other systems, they are faced with challenges to handling and analysis that TeknoScan is uniquely prepared to address.
TeknoScan equipment collection methods include all of the following:
- Drawing air from inside a cargo container through the sample card screen using a vacuum system attached to the container vent.
- Using a small hand-held unit to acquire samples through the sample card screen from individuals, cars, trucks or trailers.
- Passing over a person’s hands and clothing or sampling a vehicle’s air, and delivering the sample through the sample card.
- Using a cotton glove on many surfaces to test large areas, such as hotel rooms, and then transferring the sample to the sample card.
- Using a conventional swab and transferring the sample to the sample card.
The TeknoScan sample card’s unique chemical coating adsorbs target molecules present in air samples, from either vapor or particles. Subsequently the sample is presented for desorption in the TeknoScan analyzer resulting in substance detection and identification.
Background Interference Reduction
Some compounds, such as those often found in cologne or perfume, can overwhelm other forms of trace detection that do not have adequate chemical noise reduction techniques. Unreduced chemical noise can prevent identification of target substances or cause high false alarm rates. Another undesirable side effect of poor chemical noise reduction is depletion of the system’s charge reservoir. Since the unwanted molecules are ionized along with the target molecules, the charge reservoir can become exhausted and the system ceases to function.
The analysis process has multiple steps to reduce chemical noise from non-target substances and environmental contaminants. Desorption involves applying specific heat profiles to vent contaminants. The residual sample is then exposed to another specific heat profile to further vent unwanted chemical noise. Gas chromatography (GC) within the analyzer provides identification data prior to presentation to the system’s Axial Ion Mobility Spectrometer (AIMS).
User Interface (UI) and Networking
The TeknoScan analyzer, designed for ease of use, has a computer with touch screen interface and an industry standard operating system. The TeknoScan analyzer can simultaneously detect and identify up to 50 target substances from a single sample. Analysis results are displayed on the unit’s screen, highlighting any target substances found with an audible alarm. The TeknoScan platform reduces the need for specialized training to operate the system. It also allows for exceptional networking flexibility to a central control system through a wired or wireless network connection.
Chemical signatures are highly distinct and may even contain clues to the explosive’s manufacturer. Hundreds, if not thousands, of substance chemical signatures may be stored in a searchable central database. Target substances can include explosives, narcotics and other controlled compounds. As new drugs or threat substances are identified, the database can be drawn on to update or modify the list of target substances in a TeknoScan analyzer in the field.