Hazardous Plume Detection
With some degree of regularity, accidents cause the release of toxic vapors into the atmosphere. A terrorist attack can produce the same phenomenon, except with more catastrophic results – especially in the event of a dirty bomb. Regardless of the cause, a "hazardous plume" then drifts according to atmospheric and topological considerations, with the effect of inconveniencing, maiming, or even killing unsuspecting citizens in its path. A plume can contain chemical or bio hazards or, in the case of a dirty bomb, smoke (dust particles and chemical vapor) plus radiation.
A solution for early detection of hazardous plumes with the added capability for real-time monitoring of plume path and intensity requires a matrix of sensors deployed across the area of concern. Potential locations for installation of such sensors would be traffic light locations or communication nodes such as cell phone towers. In order for this matrix of sensors to be effective, the sensors must be relatively small in size and reasonably priced. They must be rugged, with the ability to withstand the rigors of an outdoor environment. Most importantly, since they will tend to be deployed at locations that are elevated and relatively inconvenient to service, they must be able to operate for long periods of time without the need for manual calibration or service.
Sensor modules from NNTS are based on our SSA (Self Sensing Array) technology which is inherently self-cleaning and self-calibrating, enabling reliable unattended operation for extended periods. As such, combined with its small size and low cost, the SSA-based solution is excellently suited for ubiquitous deployment of a sensor matrix across a city or a large facility. A matrix of sensor modules thus deployed will sense and track hazardous plumes and enable the optimum deployment of first responders as well as the ability to guide evacuations in the most effective manner.
Besides covering a city with a sensor matrix, a similar sensor deployment can be very useful for large facilities such as chemical and petroleum processing plants in order to sense a plume of hazardous vapor that might be leaking, and lead responders to the source as well as guide an organized evacuation.