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North Texas Research Helps War on Drugs, Terror

UNT Professor develops portable forensic workstation for military use



    (Published Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012)

    Research is being done North Texas that could have a big impact on the war against drugs and terror.

    A University of North Texas professor is developing a forensic workstation that is small enough to use in military field labs.

    "What the world needs is a device that can look at the world and do it on a small scale," Guido Verbeck said. 

    Verbeck is is a chemistry professor at UNT. He said mass spectometry already does this by examining the smallest samples.

    "Mass spec has that capability, but it's still quite large," Verbeck said.

    Verbeck is coming up with ways  to make this technology smaller, portable and durable.

    "The idea is to get this instrumentation small enough to where it lightens their [military investigators] load and makes it easy for them use. That's kind of the holy grail right now," Verbeck said.
    Charlie Clemmons is a UNT grad student, helping out with the research. Clemmons said a portable forensic workstation will save military investigators time and money by being accurate. 

    "We can detect impurities and different chemical tracers that might be in this cocaine that's not in this cocaine, so we can maybe link user A to dealer A," Clemmons said.

    The Department of Defense Battlefield Forensics Program is funding this research.