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ASPECT in Washington

Chemistry at the Forefront of National Security -

ASPECT to Oversee Presidential Inauguration

A technology designed by Los Alamos National Laboratory's Chemistry Division will be keeping an eagle eye out for terrorist activities during President George Bush's upcoming inauguration. ASPECT, which stands for Airborne Spectral Photometric Collection Technology, is an aircraft-mounted sensor system built by Los Alamos for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to detect and map toxic chemical plumes. It, along with experts from Los Alamos and the EPA, will be in the skies above Washington on January 20th and looking for nefarious airborne releases.

ASPECT is the result of more than five years of research and development by researchers in Chemistry's Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (C-PCS) group and the EPA. The project has been supported by the Laboratory's Center for Homeland Security (CHS), and is a true science success story in this area. ASPECT aircraft flew over Salt Lake City, UT, during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and it was used at both the Democratic National Convention in Boston, MA, and during the Republican National Convention in New York City.

Chemistry Division's Roger Combs (left) and Robert Kroutil (right) have been developing the instrument package that is at the heart of ASPECT.

Scientists at the Laboratory and emergency first-responders from the Environmental Protection Agency developed airborne infrared sensor technology to aid emergency crews by detecting and mapping hazardous and toxic chemical plumes unleashed by disaster or terrorist acts. ASPECT gives emergency first responders on the ground critical information regarding the size, shape, composition and concentration of gas plumes emanating from disaster scenarios such as a derailed train, factory explosion or terrorist attack.

ASPECT takes advantage of two sensors mounted aboard an Aerocommander 680 aircraft operated by an EPA disaster first-responder crew. The first sensor, called a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, detects and locates chemical vapors. It can peer through smoke and dust to get an accurate measurement of the location and concentration of the vapor plume. The second sensor, a high-resolution Infrared Line Scanner, records an image of the ground below and some plume information as well.

NEW! ASPECT Used 12/3 in EPA Emergency Response in Texas.
More on ASPECT.

Contact: Robert Kroutil

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