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Trace detection device to keep mass transit locations safer

The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, congratulated a University of Tasmania team for winning the Defence Science Technology sponsored prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.

GreyScan

The team was awarded with the Eureka Prize for the development of the world’s first trace detection device that can identify inorganic explosives in under a minute.

According to a recent press release, GreyScan can be used in mass transit locations such as airports and train stations, which could help make Australia and the world safer.

It is a product of academic and industrial research that is at the forefront of global trace inorganic explosive detection.

The capillary electrophoresis process used in GreyScan detects trace levels of inorganic explosives within 60 seconds.

The accurate, consistent and rapid identification of these explosives is a first for any explosive trace detection system worldwide.

The technology behind the device has been developed over a number of years at the University, alongside its commercial partner.  The final product promises to make travel across the world safer.

The Minister explained that until now, it has been impossible to identify trace amounts of inorganic explosives commonly found in homemade devices.

This poses a greater risk than conventional explosives due to their easily obtainable components.

Background of the initiative

The instrument is reportedly the product of more than 20 years of research from a team of more than 20 researchers.

The technology was invented by a team led by Professor Michael Breadmore and developed in strategic partnership with a technology commercialisation company, Australian Federal Police (AFP), National Institute of Forensic Science, Australian Customs Service and US Homeland Security.

The Professor explained that the instrument can detect homemade bombs of the types used in the Oklahoma bombings, Bali and the Boston marathon bombings.

Collaboration is key

The Eureka award is recognition of the quality of their science and the necessity of relationships with key stakeholders and innovation partners.

It proves what Australia can achieve when backed to not only do the critical research to demonstrate the capability, but also to invest in translating the product to bring to market through value-based, long-term strategic relationships with innovation partners.

This relationship between the University and company was initiated through a licence that the University’s Business Development and Technology Transfer (BD&TT) team completed over five years ago.

This is a great example of how the collaboration of great science, technology transfer and industry has come together to build new companies, and create new jobs in an industry that will help make the world a safer place.

The recognition at the national level brings great credit to the University and to its research capabilities in science.

Established in 1990, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, and science engagement and education.

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