University of Edinburgh researchers develop software that could boost national security

Written by Jenni Davidson on 3 August 2016 in News

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed software that can analyse complex chemical mixtures

William Rankine Building, King's Buildings, University of Edinburgh - Image credit: kaysgeog via Flickr

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed new chemical analysis software that could boost national security.

The software can analyse and identify complex chemical mixtures using hand-held devices called Raman spectrometers.

Substances made up of a mixture of different chemicals are much harder to detect than single chemicals.


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The new technique can accurately pinpoint mixtures of chemical substances, which could be useful in a security situation for identifying hazardous substances such as explosives or counterfeit drugs.

It was developed in collaboration with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

The University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation arm, Edinburgh Research & Innovation (ERI), is now looking to license the technology to industry partners who want to use it commercially.

Angus Stewart-Liddon, ERI’s licensing executive, said: “This software has the ability to transform portable chemical analysis capability in the field and give instant results to the composition of chemical mixtures.

“It adds exceptional functionality to a hand held spectroscopy device and its application, particularly for the security industry where [there is need for] rapid chemical analysis of potential hazardous materials, cannot be over-estimated.”

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