Block MEMS LLC receives contract for chemical warfare detection system

The Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Block MEMS LLC announced on Monday that it has garnered an Army Small Business Innovative Research Phase II enhancement contract for its LaserScan analyzer that can detect chemical warfare agents.

The contracts will enable Block MEMS to increase the capabilities of its LaserScan technology by developing novel algorithms for chemical recognition. The algorithms will give the system the ability to detect solid and liquid chemical warfare agents, along with other emerging chemical threats from a standoff distance, reports.

LaserScan is a next-generation spectrometer that uses lasers that are widely tunable and of the mid-infrared quantum cascade type. The spectrometer measures and detects substances on surfaces from a distance of six inches to two feet away. The device can identify bulk materials and detect submicron films based on their characteristics of absorbing mid-IR.

LaserScan can be used to detect biological agents, toxic industrial chemicals, traditional and nontraditional chemical agents and explosive materials. The device can analyze liquids and gases and it can be outfitted to work as an IR microscope.

Block MEMS previously received a Phase II award for the commercialization pilot program for the analyzer. Block MEMS is an engineering and development company affiliated with Block Engineering through common ownership. The company focuses on the research and development of FTIR spectrometers and quantum cascade lasers for the government and military.