VN-ADS completes ‘Canary’ aerotoxic detector tests

Posted on 11 March, 2021 by Advance 

UK start-up developer of aerotoxic detection technology, VN-ADS, today announced that it has successfully completed all laboratory tests on its latest ‘Canary’ poisonous compound detector, increasing sensitivity by over 100 times more than the previous version.


Cabin testing.
Courtesy VN-ADS

It now awaits third party certification/verification by the National Physical Laboratory before the company start inflight trials.

Ethical airline partners are already approaching the company for trial programmes but following a collective case management hearing before Judge Barbara Fontaine, regarding ‘Aerotoxicity Claims’ in 2018, the recent decision to transfer a ‘significant’ number of litigated industrial disease cases to the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) in London, ‘to achieve greater certainty of outcome and an overall reduction in costs’, whilst also allowing the RCJ to manage cases that have not yet been issued or served (‘intimated’ and ‘future’ claims) is now arousing the interests of the aviation insurance industry.

The Covid 19 pandemic has ravaged the airline industry, dramatically reducing ticket and new aircraft sales. To compound the pain, Specialist Class Action legal firms on both sides of the Atlantic are now circling on a No Win No Fee basis.

The RCJ decision has seen a proliferation of individual claims brought by employees or ex-employees of airlines in the UK but the now ‘Open Door Policy’ for claims via the Class Action Specialists will see it rise further.

VN-ADS Sales Director Mark Gilmore said: “The court ruling gives VN-ADS a huge market opportunity with the need for ‘real-time’ onboard portable detection of TCP (tricresyl phosphate), and TBP (tributyl phosphate) becoming a necessity for aircraft operators and manufacturers in the face of legislation, which will inevitably follow the successful prosecution of employee claims.”

VN-ADS, is an SEIS & EIS funded, privately held UK company that has developed a unique Nano Optical Aerotoxic Sensor technology in-house over a six-year period. The company has tested the technology with assistance from a combination of National, International and University test and laboratory facilities, including the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), UCL, Aston, Loughborough & Nottingham Universities, and the Frauhofer Aeronautical Test Facility in Germany.

Led by Professor Jeremy Ramsden, the development team has included: Prof. Dr. Vladimir M. Mirsky, Lausitz University of Applied Sciences - Faculty of natural sciences – Nanobiotechnology - and Dr Andras Hamori, Institute of Materials and Technical Physics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.

The concept of using changes in optical properties of a fibre-optic sensor to detect chemical changes in solution has been understood for some time and is described as present art within the Aerotoxic Detection Systems (ADS) application of the patent.

The method of detection in other fibre-optic based chemical sensing technologies has been to monitor the absorbance or fluorescence of a surface coating on the sensor tip. ADS technology utilises the measurement of changes in interference patterns generated by analyte-responsive layers deposited on the sensor tip.

The main advantages of this method are: greatly increased sensitivity compared with absorbance and fluorescence changes; increased robustness, and universality, i.e. the same sensing platform can be used to cover a very wide range of analytes. Stage 1 of the project succesfully focused on delivering a suitable sensor tip sensitising material for organophosphate detection, in particular TCP & TBP.