Daryoosh Vakhshoori: Name That Powder

Daryoosh Vakhshoori

It still happens in mail rooms and airports: a suspicious unidentified substance turns up, and activity freezes for hours until a haz-mat team can make a safety assessment. But Ahura Corp.'s FirstDefender--a handheld instrument that recognizes thousands of chemicals--can give cops and firefighters an immediate analysis of just about any substance.

FirstDefender uses lasers and a type of optical analysis known as Raman spectroscopy. "It shines a light on an object and looks at the scattered light coming back, which carries the optical signature of the material, whether it's a liquid or a solid," explains Ahura founder and president Daryoosh Vakhshoori....

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