Patent number 8506686 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to air sampling and collection systems for capturing and analyzing particulate matter from a particular environment and, more particularly, to several embodiments of a reel-to-reel aerosol collection and storage system which is designed to capture chemical, biological and other aerosols from the air using electrostatic precipitator technology onto a tape mechanism which is stored in a particular fashion for preservation of the collected contaminants for future analysis.
"The monitoring and collection of atmospheric particulate matter continues to grow in today's global environment due to the threat of biological and chemical warfare. There are many applications in which it is desirable to collect and capture air samples from a particular environment such as collecting air samples in large public gathering spaces where there is the threat of a terrorist release of a harmful aerosol or collecting air samples in livestock buildings to monitor for the spread of deadly diseases. As a result, there is an increasing demand for air sampling systems which can be used for a variety of different applications including military, private or individual use, all of which are capable of collecting a wide variety of different types of airborne particles. These particles may include biological warfare agents, naturally occurring biological material such as mold and pollen, chemical warfare agents, nuclear/radiological materials, and other naturally occurring or artificially produced airborne aerosol and pathogen particles or spores. Development of early warning systems in this area is of particular interest to government agencies around the world as the process of environmental monitoring for and collection of hazardous airborne particulate matter or contaminants presents numerous technical challenges.
"Many different types of sampling devices exist today for capturing samples of trace elements or contaminants from a particular environment for both real time analysis and storage for future analysis. Once collected, such samples are analyzed to determine the nature of the particles involved, the level of contamination in the air, and the degree of risk personnel may be exposed to in the contaminated area. While there are many different types of air sampling systems which store the collected airborne particulate matter for future analysis, such known prior art systems struggle with collecting and preserving the collected contaminants for future analysis. If the contaminants are not properly collected and stored, degradation of the collected particles may occur during collection and storage, and recovery or extraction of the collected particles from the stored medium for future analysis may be difficult and may likewise destroy or degrade the sample particles. In addition, some of the collection and storage systems are large, bulky and complicated; some are not adapted for the collection and storage of a large plurality of samples for future analysis; and some of the known prior art air sampling systems are not practical for private or individual use, or for constant monitoring of a particular site location over an extended period of time.
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