The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has awarded a contract to 908 Devices for the development of high-pressure mass spectrometry (HPMS) technology-powered advanced chemical detection equipment.

Under the of $11.5m contract, the company will integrate gas chromatography (GC) with its core HPMS technology to create a compact, lightweight chemical detection device that will provide soldiers with broader and more advanced analysis capabilities downrange.

President and CEO of 908 Devices Dr Kevin Knopp said: "Today’s responders are faced with a wider array of threats than ever before, and as the mission expands so must the toolkit.

"We believe the development of new product variants based on our core HPMS technology platform will play a key role in the future of threat detection and strengthen mission support."

"Today’s responders are faced with a wider array of threats than ever before, and as the mission expands so must the toolkit."

The company has subcontracted the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), as well as other commercial entities, and national laboratories to work on the programme.

UNC-CH chemistry professor Michael Ramsey developed the HPMS technology under funding from the Defense Advanced Research Agency, Department of Energy, and DTRA.

The technology has become the backbone behind 908 Devices’ product line, including the flagship product, M908, a handheld survey tool, which is used for priority threat detection and is expanding first responder capabilities worldwide.

Adding GC separation to the core HPMS platform is expected to bring enhanced analytical capabilities to a diverse range of markets, as well as the company’s core safety and security customers.

DTRA supports next-generation technology development programmes as part of efforts to provide the US Department of Defense with means of countering threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives threats.

The developments support a range of Joint Program Executive Office acquisition programmes for chemical and biological defence, including the next-generation chemical detector programme.