There is a critical need to improve and advance explosives detection due to concerns of domestic and foreign terrorist attacks. To help mitigate this threat, an estimated 20,000 explosives trace detectors are deployed at security checkpoints worldwide.
Explosives trace detection (ETD) systems have demanding requirements for a wide range of threats including high sensitivity, high specificity, fast analysis time and high reliability in various environmental conditions.
The NIST Entry Point Screening Test Bed provides researchers with a platform to evaluate real-world instrument performance issues such as false alarms, background contamination, environmental conditions and sample throughput.
The NIST Entry Point Screening Test Bed expands measurement science and standards production beyond the laboratory and into an applied environment. This collaboration between the Material Measurement Laboratory's Surface and Microanalysis Science Division and the NIST Emergency Services Division allows researchers to work directly with active security personnel to optimize entry point screening technologies and procedures. Explosives trace detectors (ETDs) based on ion mobility spectrometry typically analyze collection swipes that may contain trace residues of explosives. To eliminate the influence of sampling artifacts while systematically studying ETD performance, NIST researchers have developed the metrology infrastructure required to produce high-level explosives test materials. The test bed allows researchers to evaluate the stability of these test materials in the field while NIST screeners simultaneously benchmark the performance of deployed ETD systems. The availability of NIST explosives test materials to the end-user community, combined with practical data from real-world instrumentation, is critical for both ETD calibration purposes and evaluation of instrument performance.