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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

DART spectrometry developer to lecture at URI on Oct. 28

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I -- October 24, 2005 -- Robert Cody, the co-developer of JEOL USA Inc.’s revolutionary DART mass spectrometry device, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Forensic Science Partnership series Friday, Oct. 28.

Cody’s presentation, “Mass Spectrometry: An Essential Forensic Tool,” will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 124 of Pastore Hall on the Kingston campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mass spectrometers analyze the molecular weight of unknown substances; however, they require a lengthy sample preparation time and can take hours to finish. When DART (an acronym for direct analysis in real time) technology is used in combination with a computer and a regular mass spectrometer device, the identity and amount of an unknown chemical agent is discovered immediately and without a sample preparation.

At its unveiling in February, Cody demonstrated how sunscreen and insect repellent are easily detected on a one dollar bill. He explained how hospitals could use the machine in emergency rooms to aid unconscious patients who overdose on unknown substances.

The government has taken interest in the device for purposes of homeland security and defense operations. Through a nondisclosure agreement, it has been in use at the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland for the past year and a half. Chemist H. Dupont Durst has worked with DART to analyze chemicals commonly found in weapons of mass destruction. In one laboratory experiment, he analyzed a bird feather spiked with the VX nerve agent. Under normal conditions, analysis of VX could take four to eight hours, but with the DART technology, it took four seconds.