This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a fast, reliable and sensitive technology that can identify the nature and the content of the particles in aerosol samples, and provide an early warning of the presence of bio-warfare agents. Current biological agent detection systems rely on point detectors that cannot sample actual aerosol condition in real-time. Additionally, standoff detectors are large, expensive and not suitable for use in urban terrain. With a unique combination of bio-identification and ultra-sensitivity particle counting, the proposed project will develop an extremely sensitive, yet reliable detection and monitoring system that can satisfy most current and potential needs for bio-agents detection. This Phase I project has two specific aims: (1) to determine the optimal conditions for the detection of bacterial spores (eg. Bacillus subtilis) with highest sensitivity using antibodies; and (2) to demonstrate that the retained bacterial spores can be detected by a particle counter operated in solution at a sensitivity sufficient to detect few hundred particles. A testing device will be designed and produced based on these results at the end of the project.
The commercial application of this project is in the area of homeland security.