The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced intentions to award a sole source contract to Agentase LLC (a FLIR Systems company) for the Agent-exposure Surveillance & Protection Integrated Suits (ASPIS) project.
The goal of ASPIS is to provide novel coatings to deliver colorimetric detection methods in both the visible and NIR that respond to sub-microgram exposure to G- and V-series nerve agents, integrated into personal protective equipment (PPE). Moreover, these coatings will hydrolyze nerve agents on PPE to reduce or eliminate the contact hazard posed to personnel when PPE is removed.
The contract will leverage both the company’s recent advances in enzymatic detection technologies, as well as complementary research they are conducting in support of DARPA’s In Vivo Nanoplatforms program (IVN) program (FLIR Contract No. HR0011-14-C-0030), which seeks to develop new classes of adaptable nanoparticles for persistent, distributed, unobtrusive physiologic and environmental sensing as well as the treatment of physiologic abnormalities, illness and infectious disease.
It is envisioned that the project will, within 15 months, result in prototype self-disclosing and self-decontaminating coating technologies to the warfighter that will enhance the protective value of PPE.
Existing FLIR products have already demonstrated the integration of G-series hydrolyzing enzymes with pH reactive dyes to reveal agent exposure at the sub-microgram level on multiple surface types. The company has also demonstrated persistent, stable coatings under the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Hazard Mitigation, Materiel, and Equipment Restoration Advanced Technology Demonstration (HaMMER ATD, 2010), with operational lifetimes greater than 2 months, and shelf-life stability exceeding 6 months, under a wide variety of environmental conditions.