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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Handheld Analyzer Combines Dual Chemical ID Technologies for First Responders

Handheld Analyzer Combines Dual Chemical ID Technologies for First Responders Homeland Security TodayMilitary and first responders tasked with identifying unknown chemical substances now have access to a handheld instrument that uses two chemical identification technologies to detect a broad range of hazardous substances and explosives.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, an American biotechnology product development company, recently introduced the Gemini Analyzer, the first and only handheld analyzer to integrate both Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy in a single instrument.

“Combining FTIR and Raman spectroscopy into one instrument provides a powerful tool for chemical and explosives identification,” Maura Fitzpatrick, senior director of Portable Analytical Instruments at Thermo Fisher Scientific, told Homeland Security Today. “The complementary and confirmatory capability of the Gemini analyzer provides operators with faster, more confident results – without having to carry two separate instruments.”

Fitzpatrick explained that the two complementary technologies give operators a huge advantage in the field. A substance responds to each technology based on its unique molecular structure. Consequently, a substance that the Raman technology cannot identify may be identifiable by switching to FTIR analysis.

Raman spectroscopy is best used for analyzing substances in sealed containers, aqueous solutions and white and light colored powders. FTIR spectroscopy, on the other hand, is highly effective in identifying colored substances and fluorescent samples.

Operators of the Gemini Analyzer can access 24/7 reachback support from Ph.D. spectroscopists for spectral analysis and operational inquiries.

“Whether a roadside bomb, chemical spill or other potential hazard, our equipment helps protect those who put themselves in harm’s way,” Fitzpatrick said. “The benefits of complementary Raman and FTIR solutions are already well understood by explosives ordnance disposal teams, bomb squads, chemical battalions and hazmat teams worldwide.”

According to Fitzpatrick, the Gemini analyzer comes with a large substance library – more than 16,000 individual substances, including the most concerning chemicals faced in the field – toxic industrial chemicals, chemical warfare agents, explosives, precursors and more.

The Gemini Analyzer builds on two previous Thermo Fisher Scientific technologies: the FirstDefender analyzer, based on Raman spectroscopy, and the TruDefender analyzers, based on FTIR spectroscopy.

Gemini software allows operators to set up profiles, which allows users to customize scan parameters before entering the hazard zone. Fitzpatrick explained that, “By setting scan parameters such as laser power or anvil pressure, operators can be more efficient downrange and minimize their time on target.”

Gemini also includes several built in safety features, such as FTIR scan delay enabled by a motorized anvil. This new feature allows operators to increase the distance between themselves and the substance of interest before the scan initiates, according to Fitzpatrick.

Designed for harsh environments, the analyzer can be used in extreme climates. Thermo Fisher Scientific indicates that the analyzer has been certified to the latest military standards for ruggedness—drop, shock, vibration, temperature, immersion and much more.

Weighing only 4.2 pounds (1.9kg), Gemini analyzers can be easily transported into hazardous zone, making it ideal for chemical battalions, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, and other first responders burdened with heavy equipment.

“Military and first responders often carry extensive equipment – frequently more than 100 lbs (45kg) of gear – into the field,” Fitzpatrick said. “When missions can last days, every pound counts. The dual identification technologies in the Gemini analyzer helps ease the load without sacrificing capability.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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