Standoff detection and classification of bacteria by multispectral laser-induced fluorescence
Biological hazardous substances such as certain fungi and bacteria represent a high risk for the broad public if fallen into wrong hands. Incidents based on bio-agents are commonly considered to have unpredictable and complex consequences for first responders and people. The impact of such an event can be minimized by an early and fast detection of hazards. The presented approach is based on optical standoff detection applying laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) on bacteria. The LIF bio-detector has been designed for outdoor operation at standoff distances from 20 m up to more than 100 m. The detector acquires LIF spectral data for two different excitation wavelengths (280 and 355 nm) which can be used to classify suspicious samples. A correlation analysis and spectral classification by a decision tree is used to discriminate between the measured samples. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the system, suspensions of the low-risk and non-pathogenic bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus atrophaeus, Bacillus subtilis, Brevibacillus brevis, Micrococcus luteus, Oligella urethralis, Paenibacillus polymyxa and Escherichia coli (K12) have been investigated with the system, resulting in a discrimination accuracy of about 90%.