PROENGIN – After AP4C-FB , Proengin has recently launched AP4C-VB , its new combined biological and chemical detector for mobile platforms.

Proengin masters Flame Spectrophotometry technology since 30 years and its well-known AP2C and AP4C in more than 55 countries.
MAB, based on the same technology, has also become a reference of biological alarm detector for airborne biological threat.

Proengin using the same technology to detect both threats, it was very natural, to develop a single detector that would accomplish both missions.

It is noteworthy to precise that AP4C-VB is not the addition of a chemical detector and a biological detector in the same box. This single sensor continuously and simultaneously detects toxic gases and living particles, and give alarm in real time.

Coming back to the customer’s point of view, CBRN detection is not the mission of security managers of critical infrastructures or crew of mobile platforms. CBRN detection should be an invisible operation requiring no resources while its reliability should be flawless as lives of numerous persons is at stake.

Flame spectrophotometry technology achieves that.

It is based on the recognition by an optical sensor of the spectrum emitted by atoms or atomic links while burning into a tiny hydrogen flame. This physical principle is simple and universal. Astronomers have been using this principle to determine the nature of gases into stars since decades.

The reliability and universality of this physical principle allows to recognize without ambiguity the presence of some specific chemical elements within a molecule, continuously, at very low concentrations in the air and with a very high reliability.

Chemical detection

Sulphur, Arsenic, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sodium and nitrates are the main elements found in the burner flame that give a immediate, and relatively accurate information about the presence of chemical or biological threats.

Chemical threats (Chemical Warfare Agents or Toxic Industrial Compounds) are detected as most of them contain one of several of those elements. For example, all nerve agents include in their molecules the atom of phosphorus. Therefore flame spectrometers can detect any type of nerve agents, known or unknown, pure or not pure, even mixed with other chemicals in any condition of temperature or relative humidity.

New type of agents also known as Non Traditional Agents (NTA), that are, by definition, unknown, can be detected by flame spectrometers such as AP4C, AP4C-V or APC-F only as their detection by other technologies such as IMS require the knowledge of their molecular weight.

Proengin detectors have also the capability to detect an unlimited number of toxic industrial gases containing phosphorus, sulphur, arsenic or HNO chemical bond.

Biological detection

Biological alarm detection is more indirect and do not give the information about the exact nature of living particles and therefore their level of danger. Only biological analysis (by immuno-assay reaction, DNA analysis…) can identify a living particle. However those technologies are all based on testing samples, thus require samples and cannot be considered as alarm detectors. When it comes to a continuous monitoring (over days or months) of a strategic place, the main question is the rate of sampling: every hour? Every day? Every 30 minutes?

Biological detectors based on flame spectrometry are able to help by informing the user about a sudden and important increase of concentration of living bacteria in the air. Proengin biological detectors (MAB, AP4C-FB or AP4C-VB) monitor all particles and classify them by their relative content of potassium or sodium. Any rapid change of the concentration of some potassium-sodium signature is the evidence of a change of the concentration of some specific living particles possibly caused by a biological attack. This information is used to trigger a biological sampler leading to a test to identify what has caused the alarm.

So, the detection and identification of these elements – phosphorus, arsenic, HNO, sulphur, potassium and sodium – allow a fast and reliable detection of most threats, whatever biological and chemical. There is no other technology allowing a fast and simultaneous detection of thousand of gases (or aerosols) and living particles.

For real life

Proengin has used this technology to design field detectors that can be used in any conditions of dust, sand, or relative humidity.

For mobile platforms such as armoured vehicles, AP4C-V and AP4C-VB are the only chemical or chemical–biological detectors that can be operated on the exterior of the vehicle without any type of filter to be changed or any piping driving contaminated air into the crew cabin.

For naval ships or land critical infrastructures, AP4C-F or AP4C-FB are designed to work months or year in the same type of conditions, requiring only one litre of water per month as a consumable.

AP4C-VB and AP4C –FB offer an important economical advantage for users looking for a chemical and biological monitoring as they are the only systems that do not require two detectors or two different sensors in one system.

In addition to their high reliability and ease of use, they do not require any attention, continuous change of spares or consumables and have a very low power consumption.

Protection against chemical and biological threats is a difficult mission, but these 2 instruments can be considered as valuable tools to achieve it.

For further information please contact Proengin at: