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Rapid On-site Forensic Analysis of Explosives and Narcotics (ROSFEN)
Start date: Apr 1, 2013, End date: Jul 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Forensic analysis is an essential resource in the battle against organised crime and terrorist attacks. A key challenge in forensics is the detection of trace explosive residues at a post-blast scene or on the hands or clothes of an alleged suspect. Detection of the primer charge (e.g., PETN) is often hampered by higher-concentration residues from the main charge, e.g., ammonium nitrate. Detection of the primer can be essential in order to secure a prosecution, especially if the materials that comprise the main charge are commonly available, e.g., ammonium nitrate is present in fertiliser.ROSFEN’s goal is to deliver an advanced forensic platform for rapid, on-site direct detection and lab-quality analysis of narcotics, explosives and their precursors. The performance targets are detection limits down to 1 ng/mL, 1% false alarm rate and response time < 10 seconds.ROSFEN combines innovative technology from two leading SMEs: Microsaic Systems’ chip-based mass spectrometry and Environics’ ion filter systems. This novel platform removes the need for slow, costly chromatography methods currently used in lab-based analysis. ROSFEN will enable reduction of total analysis time (samples, blanks, controls) from hours to minutes, thus reducing the load on forensic labs and enabling intelligence-led investigations.ROSFEN will also innovate in the rapid analysis of new psychoactive drugs, by coupling the isomer selectivity of the ion filter technique with the detection sensitivity of tandem MS.ROSFEN will thus enable European industry to develop and deliver innovative technologies into key global markets: Analytical instruments for security applications ($2 billion annually) and the $3.3B market for mass spectrometry.The ROSFEN consortium comprises two research-intensive SMEs, two leading research groups and two end users. The end users have decades of expertise in forensic analysis of explosives and narcotics (FSNI), as well as crime scene analysis (PSNI).
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