Biothreat collection

Sceptor Industries of Kansas City, MO and Sarnoff Corporation of Princeton, NJ are developing a portable handheld particle collection device for the detection of airborne biological threats.

The Sceptor Compact Electrostatic Concentrator (CEC), planned for release in mid-2005, will produce samples with 30X the concentration performance of today’s devices, while measuring less than one-third their size and weighing under 10 pounds.

“The CEC is the size of a thermos, weighs the same as a laptop computer, and only needs 5W to run. Troops in the field or civilian emergency personnel can hand-carry it into the potentially hazardous environment, collect the samples, and get out, without extra equipment or elaborate setup,” said Richard Jarman, CEO of Sceptor.

The CEC will eventually be available in several sizes, including one as small as a human fist.

According to Chetna Bindra, Program Manager at Sarnoff, the CEC is the first electrostatic collector with such low power requirements.

“The CEC removes the particles from an air sample by using electrostatics to direct the particles into a liquid, creating a highly concentrated liquid sample,” said Bindra. “This approach eliminates the need for large volumes of consumable collection fluid, since the CEC can collect into microlitre sample volumes.”

“The small, concentrated samples are well adapted for testing by microfluidic means as well as by more conventional methods. This makes the CEC perfect for use with today’s handheld assay equipment.”

Because it does not require significant quantities of consumable fluids, the CEC can be used in remote collect/detect systems and unmanned vehicles. Sarnoff originally developed the electrostatic deposition technology behind the CEC for drug manufacturing and delivery systems. The particle collector application is based on a new generation of this technology.

Sceptor Industries will market the CEC as a complement to its current SpinCon line of aerosol collectors.