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Caribbean Microparticles Corp. proposed the use of uniform polymeric microbeads (2–20 microns) for tagging powders (>1,000 microns). Individual populations of physically differing taggants could be mixed to provide a specific code. Dispersion of the microbeads would be best conducted in a liquid, but could be accomplished through dry mixing. These particles are hydrophobic and adhere to the powder particles so that washing, even with surfactants, does not remove them. Since identification of the specific populations is all that is required, only a representative sample of particles need be examined. Quantitative recovery of particles is not necessary. This technology is presently used in the tagging of documents and tracing of stamps, and has undergone survivability tests in shotgun blasts.3
Innovative Biosystems, Inc.
Innovative Biosystems, Inc., proposed addition of single-strand DNA, called GenetagTM, to powders. DNA amplification would be accomplished through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. The genetic material was reported to survive temperatures of 60 °C for 1 year and to have been tested with powders through burning, simulated explosions, and shotgun blasts, with PCR amplification delivering readable codes. Company estimated costs are $500 to $ 1,000 for a 10k to 60k lb. batch with one taggant code, adding at the 7 ppm level. Cross-contamination and environmental persistence have not been fully studied.4
Isotag LLC proposed a mass enhanced molecular twin concept through isotopic substitution in explosive samples and identification with mass spectroscopy. Test explosions have been performed with 1 to 5 lb. tagged lots, and a 2,000 lb. lot of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil, tagged at ppb concentration, was exploded with reported postblast identification of codes. Analysis may be performed on dirt or debris samples. Studies have not been done using this technology with black powder. This technology has been used to tag lubricants, gasoline, and adhesives.5
Abraham Schwartz, Caribbean Microparticles, presentation to the committee, March 6, 1998.
Keith Stormo, Innovative Biosystems, Inc., presentation to the committee, March 6, 1998.
D. King Anderson, Isotag LLC, presentation to the committee, March 6, 1998.