Interviewing FLIR Systems GC/MS Product Manager, Phil Tackett, MONS asked the question: Was the FLIR GRIFFIN G510 Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) in internal research and development (iR&D) or was there a requirement for it...if so by whom?
“GC/MS has long played a critical role in traditional laboratory-based chemical analysis,” Tackett answers. “But chemical emergencies rarely occur in the safety of a laboratory. They can happen anywhere, extending the need for GC/MS beyond the lab.”
The US Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) Next Generation Chemical Detector (NGCD) programme specifically calls out the need for a portable system that detects and identifies threats in all phases of matter (liquid, solid, and vapor). It also states that the NGCD will improve sensitivity and selectivity and combat weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through passive defense, interdiction, elimination, and consequence management missions.
“This is an identified need, and the capabilities inherent to the GRIFFIN G510 can provide support to this and other similar missions,” the Product Manager continues. “For over 15 years, FLIR Systems has been focused on taking GC/MS out of the lab and into the field. Our existing GRIFFIN G400-series GC/MS product line provides a robust platform for vehicle-mounted chemical reconnaissance, sensitive site exploitation, building monitoring and protection, forensic analysis, environmental analysis, teaching, and research. The Griffin G510 was the natural next step in our internal research and development efforts. We focused on building a solution from the ground up that can support downrange applications – enabling military and civil responders to perform lab-quality analysis in the hot zone – and giving environmental monitoring and remediation teams the tool they need to analyse chemicals in real-time.”
Expecting to begin shipping in Q4/2017, Tackett details the company’s target group: “We have demonstrated the GRIFFIN G510 to multiple military and civil responder teams with extremely positive feedback. We believe it is ideal for these user groups, as well as for environmental, forensic, and other commercial organisations.”
Being completely self-contained in a 36lbs box, with batteries, carrier gas, and vacuum system all inside, according to Tackett, “the GRIFFIN G510 is the first IP65-rated portable GC/MS. This means it’s dust-tight and spray-resistant, which adds flexibility to decontamination procedures. Gone are the days of 45-pound external service modules and 20lbs external pumps under the bench. No need for a power generator – you get up to 4 hours on the G510 batteries. And they are hot swappable – so you can change them out if your mission lasts longer than expected. In vapor survey mode, the carrier gas would last two full weeks if run 24/7. The GRIFFIN G510 is designed from the ground up to operate outside of the lab.”
The FLIR GRIFFIN G510 brings versatility and lab quality performance and identification to the field. “It is the first portable GC/MS to provide both an integrated standard split/splitless injector and heated sample probe for survey mode analysis,” he continues. “Survey Mode capability provides vapor-phase chemical threat identification within seconds, while the injector accepts direct injection of organic liquids and solids via syringe, SPME, or PSI-Probe and delivers results in just minutes. The GRIFFIN G510 analyses unknowns via quadrupole mass spec and automatically confirms chemical identity using the industry standard NIST library. It detects the broadest range of threats including explosives, narcotics, CWAs, TICs, environmental pollutants, and other chemicals. Onboard WiFi and GPS aid in management of data.“
Concluding, Tackert explains: “Scientists will love the lab-quality capability and responders will love that you don’t need a Ph.D. to use it. Basic operator training is completed in only two hours, while expert training can be completed in a single day. The user interface sets it apart from other systems on the market today. Its streamlined design and guided controls help the user select the mode of operation. It alerts the operator with visual alarm confirmation both on the handheld probe, as well as the on-board, 9in touchscreen. The large touchscreen can be operated by a responder while wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). The ability to quickly identify unknown threats and confirm known hazards gives operators the confidence to take immediate action, ensuring the public’s safety.”