PNNL Explosive Vapor Detection Technology is GeekWire’s Innovation of the Year

An innovation that can rapidly find explosive vapors, lethal chemicals and illegal drugs with unrivaled precision has actually been called the 2020 Innovation of the Year by GeekWire, the Seattle-based innovation news company.

The vapor detection technology, called VaporID, was established by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Lab in Richland, Wash. It and other winners of GeekWire’s yearly awards for the Northwest’s leading business and technologies were revealed at a virtual event on July 23. PNNL was the only winner from Eastern Washington.

“There were a number of beneficial nominees, so this is a fantastic honor,” stated PNNL chemist and co-inventor Robert Ewing, who accepted the award on behalf of PNNL. “The award indicates a good deal to those of us who dealt with the innovation as it has such possible to enhance public safety.”

VaporID properly discovers and recognizes the vapors of even really low-volatility dynamites in real time, in extremely small amounts, at ambient temperature, and without sample pre-concentration. The innovation determines explosive substances, such as C-4, PETN, Semtex, nitroglycerin, tetryl and TNT, as well as vapors emanating from harmful chemicals comparable in structure to nerve agents. Recently, the ability was proven effective at recognizing illegal drugs, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Instead of looking for particle residue using a normal method like surface area swipes or utilizing pulses of air to remove particles for analysis, the system ‘smells’ directly for explosives vapors, much the way bomb-sniffing canines do.

In the not-too-distant future, contact and canine-assist approaches might be complemented or replaced by the VaporID technology in mailrooms, at airports and other places where public security is vital. This is the 2nd significant award for VaporID. It got an R&D 100 Award in 2019.

Post courtesy of PNNL. Adjusted by CBRNE Central.

Check out the rest of PNNL Explosive Vapor Detection Technology is GeekWire’s Development of the Year at CBRNE Central.