The Billings Gazette informs that a Wyoming company DeltaNu, LLC., founded by two University of Wyoming professors, is manufacturing the world’s smallest hand-held Raman spectroscopy system, that is able to identify virtually any chemical material. According to the article, the company has entered into a partnership with Smiths Detection to distribute and sell its system to emergency responders worldwide.
From the product’s website:
Inspector Raman™ is capable of identifying virtually all chemical materials. This includes drugs, the materials used to make drugs, fibers, plastics, explosives, and more. It can identify these through glass, plastic containers, or in the open. The device is coupled with a digital camera to record the crime scene and the specific sample being measured. A typical investigation begins with visual recording of the scene and samples. Then samples of interest can be chemically identified on site with the hand-held Raman measurement system. The chemical data and the photographs are sent via a wireless communication system to a pocket PC that is attached to the system. The crime scene investigator can input factual data about the location in the familiar MS Word format. All of this information is bundled into a file that represents the crime scene. The portable device can then download all of the information to a desktop PC for permanent storage and preparation for litigation. This process eliminates change of custody that occurs when samples are removed from the scene.
The system is battery powered for hours of use before recharging is needed. The wireless transmission allows the data collection to be performed remotely from the actual measuring device. This is particularly useful when repetitive analysis is desired such as customs inspection of passports or when danger exists as in explosives identification. The remote pocket PC contains libraries and algorithms to convert complicated Raman spectra into a simple list of materials present in a sample. For example, a white powder can be photographed, identified as a mixture of methamphetamine and sugar, and a case report written in less than a minute. All at the crime scene!! If further forensic analysis is needed, the sample can be collected and sent to a lab.
Don’t ask about the picture, but they surely do know how to arrange photo stills in Wyoming!
More at DeltaNu…