Stratophase develops biological, chemical weapon detector

Stratophase, a spinout from the U.K.’s University of Southampton that specializes in the real-time measurement of chemicals and biochemicals, recently completed the development of two Portable Integrated Battlespace Biological Detection Technology prototypes.

The project has received support from a number of biodetection and microfluidics specialists, as well as a consortium of academic, commercial and military interests, according to The U.K. Ministry of Defense provided the project’s funding.

The PIBBDT prototypes were recently tested using model biohazard agents. The prototypes proved capable of collecting and concentrating the agents in the atmosphere into a liquid form that could be tested by Stratophase’s optical microchip detector.

The technology used in the testing was able to detect changes in the liquid’s refractive index to identify the substance as it passed over the chip’s surface, according to A coating of specific antibodies that have a high affinity and specificity to biological targets is programmed into the chip. If the liquid sample contains a virus, bacteria or toxin, it binds to the substance and results in a positive identification.

The microchip was tested at the U.K. Defense and Science Technology Laboratory bioagent exposure facility. It successfully identified an anthrax causative agent, ricin toxin and other biowarfare factors.