Sample Preparation Station
- Robotic automated sample preparation and analysis unit
- Integrated Time of Flight mass spectrometer for materials analysis
- Full materials analysis now possible in under three minutes
- Man portable design can be used by first-response teams
The portable Time of Flight mass spectrometer is a powerful analytical device that has the capability of detecting a wide range of chemical and biological substances. The unit is designed for easy transportation to the scene of any emergency or incident. The analysis uses a UV pulse laser array to energize ions of a sample before sending them to a detection unit. The energized ions have an easily observable mass which is recorded and analyzed by the devices onboard electronics.
PPI was given the considerable challenge of making this unit as portable as possible without compromising any of the design’s effectiveness. Several strategies already existed, but faced limitations of cost, efficiency and manufacturability. Through PPI’s considerable experience in manufacturing and assembly techniques, a production model was fully realized in four months. The design solution reached has resulted in a stable, accurate unit that can provide results in minutes and is housed in a durable chassis for field work.
The automated sample preparation station is able to be used as a portable unit or as an aid to a materials analysis lab. Traditionally, the process of sample collection, preparation and analysis required a minimum of a half hour’s time by a specially trained lab technician. This system has reduced the process to a tenth of its original time in addition to being usable by first responders such as paramedics and law enforcement. As the electronics and computational power of the machine’s on-board computer continues to advance, even more types of material can be analyzed allowing for more accurate investigations under controlled and safe conditions.
Portable spectrographic analysis will allow paramedics and detectives to secure and stabilize emergency situations. As the system evolves to allow solid and gas analysis, first responder teams will be able to determine environmental safety and detect criminal activity. By allowing the unit’s internal instrumentation and electronics to perform the entirety of analysis, first response personnel will be able to use this crucial device with a minimum of extra training. Public and private organizations with access to this technology will be able to assure cleaner water and air, safer foods, and protection from poisons and toxins.