FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 01, 2013

New American Chemical Society video on the world’s most sensitive explosive detector to date

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2013 — A new American Chemical Society (ACS) video focuses on the world’s most sensitive explosive detector to date. Known as FIDO, the handheld detector has been used to detect roadside bombs in Iraq, as well as in homeland security operations and airport security. The video, the latest episode in ACS’ Prized Science series, is available at and on DVD.

“Dogs are the gold standard [for explosive detection]… but they have some limitations,” explains Tim Swager, Ph.D., winner of the 2013 ACS Award for Creative Invention for his work on the device. The award is sponsored by ACS Corporation Associates. “FIDO has comparable sensitivity to a dog, and sometimes detects things that a dog might miss… Seeing FIDO used by the military in Iraq in the darkest hours when we were finding lots of bombs — that was really important.”

Swager, a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains that the detector is able to “sniff” the air and pick up very low concentrations of explosive vapors. He and his team are investigating other potential uses for this sensor technology, including medical diagnostic devices that could detect pathogens or cancer tumors in patients.

ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations and others to embed links to Prized Science on their websites. The videos discuss scientific research in non-technical language for general audiences. New episodes in the series, which focuses on ACS’ 2013 national award recipients, will be issued periodically.

The 2013 edition of Prized Science features renowned scientists telling the story of their own research and its impact and potential impact on everyday life. Colorful graphics and images visually explain the award recipient’s research.

The ACS administers more than 60 national awards to honor accomplishments in chemistry and service to chemistry. The nomination process involves submission of forms, with winners selected by a committee consisting of ACS members who typically are technical experts in the nominee’s specific field of research.

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Credit: American Chemical Society
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