Abstract

Methods for accurately characterizing aerosols are required for detecting biological warfare agents. Currently, fluorescence-based biological agent sensors provide adequate detection sensitivity but suffer from high false-alarm rates. Combining single-particle fluorescence analysis with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) provides additional discrimination and potentially reduces false-alarm rates. A transportable UV laser-induced fluorescence-cued LIBS test bed has been developed and used to evaluate the utility of LIBS for biological-agent detection. Analysis of these data indicates that LIBS adds discrimination capability to fluorescence-based biological-agent detectors. However, the data also show that LIBS signatures of biological agent simulants are affected by washing. This may limit the specificity of LIBS and narrow the scope of its applicability in biological-agent detection.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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