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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Researchers from Purdue University who have developed battery-powered, miniature instruments that could one day be deployed in wireless sensor networks in airports, subway systems and office buildings will showcase the technology during a weeklong conference beginning March 12.
Analytical chemists recently have used prototypes of the handheld mass spectrometers to detect minute traces of triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, which was used by terrorists in last year's London subway bombings and is a common explosive found in improvised explosive devices.
"It's one thing to detect a substance, but it's another thing to be absolutely certain of its composition, which is what you get with mass spectrometry," said R. Graham Cooks, the Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry in Purdue's College of Science.
Members of the Purdue team will run a live demonstration of the miniature mass spectrometers at an evening …