Contract awarded to 1st Detect Corporation for CBRN detector

A contract to design and develop an inlet system that will significantly improve the sensitivity of mass spectrometers used for chemical detection in the field has been awarded to 1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation.

The $735,000 Small Business Innovation Research contract was awarded to 1st Detect by the Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, in conjunction with U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground. The Phase II contract comes on the heels of 1st Detect’s successful execution of a Phase I SBIR that was awarded in May 2009.

John Porter, 1st Detect's CEO, said that the latest contract will enable the company to transition its proof of concept pre-concentrator into a field-testable prototype.

“This award recognizes the achievements we've made developing advancements in chemical detection technology, designed to enhance the U.S. Military's capability to better detect chemical warfare threats,” Porter said.

Porter said that the pre-concentrator will be integrated into 1st Detect's Miniature Chemical Detector, a portable mass spectrometer. The device was originally created to sample the air quality on the International Space Station, Porter said. It is used to detect residues and vapors from a wide range of toxins, organic compounds and explosives. Because of its wide range of uses, it is being marketed to the military, security, industrial and healthcare markets.

David Rafferty, president and chief technology officer for 1st Detect, said that he was also excited about the contract.

“1st Detect is proud to continue our work with DoD's Joint Chemical and Biological Defense Program and the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground in the development of this innovative detection technology,” Rafferty said.