20 YEARS OF RESEARCH LEADS TO AIRPORT EXPLOSIVES DETECTOR
Australian Customs Service, Australian Federal Police and National Institute of Forensic Science, which began in 2006. Through a Linkage Projects grant, the team has leveraged this technology base for near real-time monitoring of nutrients, with a second company, EcoDetection Pty Ltd, created to bring it to market.
A University of Tasmania (UTAS) research team led by Professor Michael Breadmore has taken an invention from its first inception at the UTAS-based Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science, right through to commercialisation—with ARC support all along the way. Separation science involves the study of fundamental processes and materials for the separation and measurement of specific molecules, usually when these are present in very complex mixtures. With innovation partner Grey Innovation, the research team has developed a device which uses techniques from separation science to identify inorganic explosives in under a minute. A new company, GreyScan Australia Pty Ltd, has been formed to market the device for use by first responders and checkpoint operatives in a variety of detection scenarios—including military, public security, cargo and mail screening, passenger screening, commercial premises and major events. Until now, it has not been possible to detect the full range of inorganic explosives materials with speed and accuracy in the field. The new device quickly and accurately identifies ingredients commonly used in improvised explosives devices, extending current security capabilities by complementing traditional explosives trace detectors. The device received national academic and commercial recognition, with the team awarded the 2019 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia. Professor Breadmore says the project was underpinned by fundamental research supported through Discovery Projects grants awarded to Paul Haddad in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and through partnerships with the
“CONTINUED FUNDING SUPPORT THROUGH THE ARC MEANT I INITIALLY HAD SPACE TO FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH. NOW I’M TURNING THIS EXPERTISE INTO RESEARCH TRANSLATION FOR INDUSTRY,” SAYS PROFESSOR BREADMORE.
The GreyScan device can identify organic explosives in under a minute. Credit: GreyScan Pty Ltd.
DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
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