IARPA launches MAEGLIN Phase 2

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced on August 23 the award of Phase 2 of the Molecular Analyzer for Efficient Gas-Phase Low-Power Interrogation (MAEGLIN) program research contracts.

Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement, IARPA awarded the contracts to two separate teams at the University of Michigan and a team from SRI International. A test and evaluation team composed of researchers from the Chemical Biological Center, Naval Research Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory will test the accuracy, sensitivity, and long-term-use performance of the MAEGLIN integrated brass-boards and prototype designs.

MAEGLIN is working towards an ultra-low-power chemical analysis system for remote detection and identification of explosives, chemical weapons, industrial toxins and pollutants, narcotics, and nuclear materials in the presence of significant background interferents. In Phase 1, the program developed component technology in collection, separation, and analysis. In Phase 2, MAEGLIN will develop an integrated capability in two separate tracks: forensic chemical identification and screening chemical identification.

“Chemical detection is a priority for the Intelligence Community, with applications such as forensic analysis, border/facility protection, and stockpile/production monitoring,” said MAEGLIN program manager Kristy DeWitt. “In particular, the IC has an interest in long-term monitoring of a chemical environment without human oversight, but current technology cannot provide both high sensitivity and accuracy, and long-term emplacement capability.”

MAEGLIN Phase 2 will consist of two components. The first will be a demonstration of chemical identification capability (in either the forensic or screening tracks) against the program metrics, conducted using hardware at the brass-board system level.

The second will be the design of an integrated prototype with the same functionality in terms of chemical identification capability as the brass-board systems, but which also fully meets the MAEGLIN Phase 2 design requirements for size, weight, and power consumption. Systems in the forensic chemical identification track will be able to collect a moderately complex mixture and perform a full analysis of the complex mixture with positive identification of a broad range of target species, including a capability for offline analysis of true unknowns. 

Source: IARPA