The Seeker XDU
The Seeker XDU, is a compact, lightweight, highly portable, multi-lingual, hand-held device for detecting trace levels of explosives. The Seeker XDU technology allows users to quickly detect the presence of explosives through the use of cutting edge diagnostic swipe collection cards and the system's optical reading electronics. Armed with the test results, users can make rapid and informed decisions and take appropriate action. The Seeker has additional capabilities, such as GPS mapping of results, data transfer and custom PC report generation with minimal training required.
The Seeker XDU explosives detection system uses colorimetric techniques to identify trace explosives. Unlike other colorimetric devices that require a user to determine with their naked eye if an explosive is present, the Seeker XDU is fully automated, and the operator is notified of an explosive trace within seconds. The Seeker XDU operates as an analyzer of materials captured on the system's proprietary card stock, which is "swiped" on the substance in question, and is then inserted into the handheld device for analysis of the sample. The Seeker identifies the unique ID of the card and test type with a barcode scan. The card is inserted into the unit and test results are displayed within 8-70 seconds depending on the type of test. The results are automatically stored into memory along with the date and time of the test, and the GPS (global positioning via satellite) location. The unit will store the time and date of the result of up to 300 cards at a time. The Seeker XDU will produce a positive/negative result.
Trace Explosives Detection Methods & Operating principles:
Ion Mobility Spectrometry(IMS) - Based on ionizing the sample and measuring its mobility. In general heavier ions move slowly and lighter ones move relatively fast. Amplifying fluorescent polymer Detection is based on a reduction in fluorescent intensity of AFP in the presence of certain explosives.
Chemiluminescence - Based on detection of light emissions coming from nitro groups that are found in many conventional explosives.
Colorimetric Techniques - various colorimetric reagents are applied to a sample in a predetermined sequence. The operator observes color changes with each reagent added that is indicative of an explosive.
"Source: GAO analysis of Naval Ordance Disposal Technology Division and other data."
The different types of explosives detection technology available today have their limitations and can be divided into two basic categories. There are those based on imaging methods, sometimes called bulk detection, and those that are based on trace detection methods. The goal in bulk detection is to identify any suspicious indication-an anomaly-in a bag or on a person that might potentially be a bomb. These systems, while they may be used to detect explosive material, are also often used to detect other parts of a bomb. Although some automated detection assistance is usually included, imaging based detection systems currently depend heavily on trained operators in identifying the anomalies indicative of a bomb.
Trace detection technologies, on the other hand, involve taking a physical sample from a likely source and then analyzing it with any one of several different techniques for the presence of trace particles of explosive material. Importantly, a positive detection does not necessarily indicate the presence of a bomb because the trace particles may just be contamination from someone having handled or having been near explosives material. Explosives trace detection systems can often identify the individual type of explosives trace particles present.