Distributed Intrinsic Chemical Agent Sensing and Transmission (DICAST®) technology establishes a new paradigm in the detection of toxic chemicals and chemical warfare agents. These fiber optic chemical sensors extend the reach of sensitive chemical detection over long lengths of optical fiber, as opposed to existing chemical sensors, which are based on point sensing technology. Typically, select facility perimeters and buildings are covered with many networked point sensors, but the cost and complexity of such systems are large. A distributed chemical sensor – one whose transduction element is many meters long – can bridge the gap for perimeter protection in both open area and confined space chemical detection. Using proprietary fiber designs and coatings, the DICAST® optical fiber itself becomes the sensing element. The fiber is implanted into a rugged cable, creating a field-installable chemical sensor with continuous and sensitive detection capability over its entire length: The cable IS the sensor!

The DICAST® sensing technology is an outgrowth of research into distributed fiber optic sensors by IOS founder and President, Dr. Robert Lieberman, at Bell Laboratories in the 1980s. The technology was further developed and demonstrated at IOS under contract to NASA in the early 1990s, followed by a Phase III contract with DARPA in the late 1990s. DICAST® development continues today under contract to the CTTSO Department of the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), Department of the Navy. Now in its sixth year of funding under TSWG, DICAST® sensors have been developed for multiple chemical agents, including chemical warfare agents, and prototype systems are deployed at beta sites in Pennsylvania and California.

DICAST® sensing technology may be applied to a variety of applications where detection of toxic gases and liquids/aerosols is a requirement. Major applications include protection of buildings and large public venues (shopping and convention centers, sports arenas, amphitheaters), mobile and transportation assets (aircraft, ships, rail systems), perimeter protection against CBW agents, large area verification of decontamination, pipeline leak detection, chemical concentration profiling, and air monitoring for mining safety.


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