Handheld Chemical Substance Identification for First Responders

Device uses spectroscopy to ID over 1,000 toxic substances.

by / May 30, 2008

Today, GE Security, Inc., a business of GE Enterprise Solutions, announced its Homeland Protection business has introduced StreetLab Mobile, a point-and-shoot handheld substance identification system. The StreetLab Mobile uses Raman spectroscopy to identify unknown chemicals, while the next version of the hardware will include biological substance identification capability as well. The biological identification upgrade, available later this year, is expected to make StreetLab Mobile the first combined chemical-biological detector, the company said in a news release.

StreetLab Mobile is a handheld device that can reliably identify a broad range of chemicals in liquid, powder and solid forms. Using Raman spectroscopy for data capture and analysis, StreetLab Mobile consumes little or no substance sample and makes it easy for the operator to understand and share results. Raman spectroscopy works by analyzing the interactions of light with the sample's chemical bonds, allowing a sample to be analyzed without being consumed or destroyed in most cases. Once the substance has been identified, extended-range wireless technology allows first responders to quickly deliver accurate results from the field to tactical commanders at remote centers.

StreetLab Mobile is presently capable of identifying more than one thousand potentially dangerous chemicals, including industrial substances such as formaldehyde and liquid and solid explosives, as well as the chemical components of common explosives. It can also identify chemicals such as Cresol and Benzene, exposure to which can have serious health consequences.

The StreetLab Mobile chemical identification unit is available now and the current model will be easily upgradeable to dual-mode versions when the biological substance detection capability becomes available later this year.