Improved detection of chemical substances from colorimetric sensor data using probabilistic machine learning

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We present a data-driven machine learning approach to detect drug- and explosives-precursors using colorimetric sensor technology for air-sampling. The sensing technology has been developed in the context of the CRIM-TRACK project. At present a fully- integrated portable prototype for air sampling with disposable sensing chips and automated data acquisition has been developed. The prototype allows for fast, user-friendly sampling, which has made it possible to produce large datasets of colorimetric data for different target analytes in laboratory and simulated real-world application scenarios. To make use of the highly multi-variate data produced from the colorimetric chip a number of machine learning techniques are employed to provide reliable classification of target analytes from confounders found in the air streams. We demonstrate that a data-driven machine learning method using dimensionality reduction in combination with a probabilistic classifier makes it possible to produce informative features and a high detection rate of analytes. Furthermore, the probabilistic machine learning approach provides a means of automatically identifying unreliable measurements that could produce false predictions. The robustness of the colorimetric sensor has been evaluated in a series of experiments focusing on the amphetamine pre-cursor phenylacetone as well as the improvised explosives pre-cursor hydrogen peroxide. The analysis demonstrates that the system is able to detect analytes in clean air and mixed with substances that occur naturally in real-world sampling scenarios. The technology under development in CRIM-TRACK has the potential as an effective tool to control trafficking of illegal drugs, explosive detection, or in other law enforcement applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Number of pages8
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2017
Article number1018307
ISBN (Print)9781510608672
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventChemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XVIII - Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, United States
Duration: 9 Apr 201713 Apr 2017


ConferenceChemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XVIII
LocationAnaheim Convention Center
CountryUnited States
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

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    Research areas

  • Artificial nose, Colorimetric sensor array, Machine learning

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