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Vapor-Phase Identification and Detection of Explosives and Narcotics Technology (VP-IDENT) is an instrument that, when coupled with a mass spectrometer, identifies vapors of explosives and narcotics in the air in real time at levels previously undetectable by any other sampling technology. Discovering dangerous substances like these is a critical need for aviation security, cargo screening and broader counter-terrorism and national security activities. VP-IDENT provides reliable, real-time, non-contact detection of explosives and narcotics with no particle collection. The technology has been demonstrated in laboratory tests to detect even hard-to-identify explosives compounds such as RDX, PETN, nitroglycerine and tetryl, along with plastic explosives that contain these materials.