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New portable device can swiftly sniff out explosive recovers: study

New portable device can swiftly sniff out explosive recovers: study
Pupils check the quality of a product in their classroom in the Centro de Formacao da Industria Metalurgica e Metalomecanica (CENFIM) vocational training center in Lisbon February 1, 2013. The Portuguese government is looking for additional EU funding to expand these vocational training centres to combat the downturn in the economy and employment. European Union states will meet for the second time on February 7-8 to try and negotiate the nearly 1 trillion euro EU budget for 2014-2020. Previous talks collapsed in November and deep divisions remain over whether and how deeply the budget should be cut to reflect the euro debt crisis and harsh austerity measures being taken to address it. Arguments over farm subsidies and rebates are yet to be resolved as the EU contemplates its first real terms decline in spending. But officials are more confident that a deal will be struck this time. France is the biggest beneficiary of farm subsidies, which accounts for about 40 percent of the total budget. It has been at the heart of attempts to maintain contributions along with newer EU members to the east and countries struggling with crippling debts. However, countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom, which pay far more into the budget than they get back, are pushing for a reduction in an attempt to help balance their national books. Picture taken February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro (PORTUGAL - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT EDUCATION) - RTR3DE7Z

Washington: Tom Bruno, a chemist working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has come up with a portable kit that can be used to recover trace chemicals such as environmental pollutants and forensic evidence, “including secret graves and arson fire debris”.

If successfully commercialized by industry, the briefcase-sized kit could enable detectives, field inspectors and others to carry with them a convenient version of NIST’s “headspace analysis” technique, which identifies solid or liquid compounds based on the makeup of vapors released into nearby air.

The underlying technique is PLOT-cryoadsorption or PLOT-cryo-short for porous layer open tubular cryogenic adsorption. PLOT-cryo is sensitive, quantitative and more broadly useful than many competing techniques. It can identify compounds that don’t readily evaporate and is not limited to samples dissolved in water, for example.

The method recovers vapors by suction or by sweeping a gas across the air above a sample of interest. The laboratory version of the technique has been used to find traces of explosives, spoiled food, residues in arson debris and grave-soil.

The study has been published in Journal of Chromatography A. (ANI)