908 Devices announced that they had been awarded a $11.5m contract by DTRA to develop the inclusion of gas chromatography into their high-pressure mass spectrometer (HPMS) chemical detector. The technology behind HPMS had originally come out of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), with funding from DTRA, DARPA and DOE, and 908 Devices will work with them again, along with other commercial entities and national laboratories.
The presumably new device (rather than two separate ones) will integrate GC with its core HPMS technology creating a compact, lightweight chemical detection device that will provide warfighters with broader and more advanced analysis capabilities downrange. 908 Devices state that ‘the addition of GC separation to the core HPMS platform will be a significant milestone that brings enhanced analytical capabilities to a diverse range of markets in addition to the company’s core safety and security customers.’
908 go on to state that it will strengthen their offering into the Next Generation Chemical Detector (NGCD) programme, run by JPEO CBD and watched very closely by the UK MoD’s DE&S. Putting the two technologies together in a compact envelope will be a challenge (but one that has been done before by companies such as Inficon), but as great a challenge will be providing information that a soldier/hazmat tech can understand without a degree in organic chemistry.