The Microsphere Heater System is a purpose built tool to assist in the training of canines on the detection of many explosives including peroxide based explosives Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine (HMTD). TATP and HMTD have a high shock sensitivity which makes handling of these energetic materials extremely dangerous. They also have a very short shelf life which makes long term storage difficult. The University of Rhode Island, with funding from the Department of Homeland Security, has developed safe scent materials that come in the form of “Microspheres”.

To create the TATP or HMTD scent, the Microspheres are heated using the Microsphere Heater which releases the explosive material from the microspheres onto an inert filter for safe training and transport. Current research at the University of Rhode Island is extending these capabilities to other hazardous explosives to improve shelf life and overall safety in handling and transport of explosive materials used for training

Safescent technology

Safe-To-Handle Microspheres allow for training against evolving threats

Rugged and portable

Safe for Transport of Volatile Substances

Reliable testing

User friendly interface activates long-lasting Microspheres for reliable test results

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What is it?

A heating device that safely and accurately produces TATP, HMTD, or other volatile explosives so they can be used for by first responders for dog training aids or by manufacturers for trace explosive detection systems.

There are two parts to the system: the heater and the test vials. The test vials contain the Microspheres and an aluminum wool plug. The test vials are good for up to 3 heating cycles and can last for hours of training.

The advantage of the system is the long shelf life and easy handling of the Microspheres. When it comes time for training or testing, the Microspheres are inserted into the Microsphere Heater which then safely heats and releases the explosive that is collected and can be used for training. The system is portable, simple to use, and produces training aids in minutes.

Who it's for?

  • First Responders
  • Dog Trainers or Handlers
  • Manufacturers of Trace Explosive Systems
  • Allows for safe transport and handling of highly volatile and energetic peroxide based explosives (TATP and HMTD)

  • Microspheres drastically increase shelf-life of explosive from days to years

  • Canine explosive training can be safely performed without risk to the canine or handler

  • Microsphere Heater is rugged and can be taken to wherever training may occur. It contains a large battery to last for 100’s of tests.

  • Device has a simple, easy to navigate interface to ensure consistent testing results


Learn more about Training Aids and the Microsphere Heater System

What are Microspheres?

Triacetone peroxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) are explosives that were used in events such as terrorist bombings in Paris and Brussels. These explosives are made from common household chemicals but are highly unstable and volatile when in pure form. This high sensitivity and vapor pressure make it very dangerous to handle which in turn makes it difficult to train explosive detection dogs on or develop trace explosive detection instruments with.

Dr. Jimmie Oxley, of the University of Rhode Island, and her team created a method of encapsulating these explosives in polymer to render the them safe for handling and transport. These polycarbonate Microspheres contain only a low percentage of explosive, such as TATP, that has been demonstrated to last for years yet produce pure explosive vapor when heated at the designated heat-profile. The Microspheres consist of a “Core Material” which are the explosives such as TATP or HMTD, and a “Polymer Matrix” which is the surrounding material that protects the explosive. This approach provides canine handlers and instrument vendors with safe access to stored hazardous explosives at trace levels for use in detection, calibration, and validation of instruments as well as the training of explosives detecting canines.

TATP Microspheres Before Heating

TATP Microspheres Before Heating

TATP Microspheres After Heating

TATP Microspheres After Heating

microsphere heater

How does the microsphere heater system work?

To create the TATP or HMTD scent, the Microspheres are heated using the Microsphere Heater which releases the explosive material from the Microspheres onto an inert filter for safe training and transport.

The Microspheres are inserted into a glass vial and a plug of aluminum wool is inserted above. This vial is then inserted into the Heater. With simple 1-touch operation the Heater begins heating to a precise temperature profile in order to melt the polymer of the Microspheres and release the TATP, or other explosive, into vapor form. This vapor then collects and crystallizes onto the aluminum wool. After only a minute the heating is complete and the aluminum wool containing the pure explosive can be removed and used for dog scent training or trace explosive detection.

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  • Specs
  • Documentation

SEEKER Specifications

Microsphere Encapsulated “Safe-Scent” Techology
1. Microsphere Heater 2. Test Vials with Microspheres
197g (6.94oz or .43lbs)
Size (Inches) WxHxD
11.8″ x 9.8″ x 4.7″ (30 x 24.9 x 11.9 cm)
Internal Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Explosives Types
TATP and HMTD – Please contact DetectaChem for current list of available substances
Wall Charger, Quick-Start Guide, Loading Vials, Aluminum Wool