The Optical Nose Grid for Large Indoor Area Explosives’ Vapours Monitoring

ORION project

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This project has received funding from the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme under grant agreement G5751.

Our Project

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This is an ambitious, high-risk/high-gain proposal aimed at a breakthrough in grid-type monitoring of explosive vapours. This objective will be achieved by exploiting new materials, advanced characterisation methods and devices based on ultra-sensitive photothermal measurements of IR absorption of vapour with state-of-the-art array of submicron-size luminescence temperature-reading probes. The project will deliver highly-innovative photothermal luminescence thermometry (PT-LT) based miniaturised explosive vapour sensing devices (m-EVSDs) with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) data processing units to minimise false positives, and with embedded WiFi or/and LiFi to facilitate encrypted communication and large area grid-type sensing (optical nose grid, ONG).


Objectives & Work packages


Determination of materials thermographic properties and modelling


To obtain thermal probes with: i) relative sensitivity (Sr) >1%K−1; ii) temperature resolution < 0.005 K and iii) reliable temperature determination (ratiometric intensity or lifetime detection).



Design, fabrication and testing of the microchannel plates


To obtain microchannel plates with the best chemical and thermal stability, the uniformity of microchannel geometry and optical transparency for NIR radiation.

Design, synthesis and advanced characterisation of luminescent thermal probes


First selection of thermal probes (up to 5)


Prototype and proof of concept


To obtain the prototype with adequate speed of measurements, resolution in energy of measurements, signal-to-noise ratio of measurement (the uncertainty in measurements), repeatability and reproducibility of measurements.


Database and Artificial Intelligence software building


To create database consisting of IR spectra of commercial and military explosives, improvised explosive substances and every day, “innocent” substances. Artificial Intelligence software building.



Durham University, UK

Department of Chemistry

VINČA Institute of Nuclear Sciences – National Institute of the Republic of Serbia

University of Belgrade

University at Buffalo, USA

The State University of New York


Thomas Thundat is a member of Chemical and Biological Engineering's RENEW faculty.  He was formerly Canada Excellence Research Chair professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and is a Distinguished Professor (hon.) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Centenary Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He is the author of over 400 publications in refereed journals, 45 book chapters, and 40 patents. Dr. Thundat is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the SPIE, and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Dr. Thundat’s research is currently focused on novel physical, chemical, and biological detection using micro and nano mechanical sensors and electrical power delivery using the single wire concept.

Ivana Radosavljević Evans was born in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. She obtained her first degree in Physical Chemistry at the University of Belgrade and her PhD in Chemistry at Oregon State University, under the supervision of Art Sleight, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, in 1999.

After moving to the UK, she joined the group of Professor Judith Howard at the Durham University Department of Chemistry as a post-doctoral research associate. She was the recipient of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre Prize for Younger Scientist Award for 2003. In 2005, she took up an independent RCUK Academic Fellowship. She was appointed a Lecturer in Structural/Materials Chemistry in 2009, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011, Reader in 2015 and Professor in 2019.

Ivana was the Chair (2011 - 2014) of the Physical Crystallography Group of the British Crystallographic Association and the Structural Condensed Matter Physics Group of the Institute of Physics. She has served on the Diffraction peer review panel for Diamond Light Source (2010-2014) and on the ISIS Diffraction peer review panel (2015-2017), the RSC Materials Chemistry Division Council (2016_2019), and is currently a member of the RSC Faraday Discussions Standing Committee and the IUCr Commission on Powder Diffraction. She was an invited visiting researcher at ANSTO for 6 months (2015) and a short-term Visiting Scientist at the University of Sydney in 2017. She is a co-organiser and lecturer on the internationally renowned Powder Diffraction & Rietveld Refinement School and a Visiting Professor at the University of Belgrade.

Miroslav Dramićanin is research Professor at Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences – National Institute of the Republic of Serbia and Full Professor at Faculty of Physics, University of Belgrade, Serbia. He obtained his PhD in Engineering Physics at University of Belgrade in 1998, working on the analysis of nonlinear effects in photoacoustic spectroscopy. He was the Head of the Laboratory for Radiation Physics and Chemistry, Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, University of Belgrade from 2006 to 2019.. He has published 1 book (Luminescence Thermometry: Methods, Materials, and Applications, Woodhead Publishing; ISBN: 9780081020296), 9 book chapters, and more than 280 papers in international journals which have been cited for about 8000 times (according to Google Scholar). He acts as an associate editor of the Optical Materials journal and is one chairpersons of the International Conference on the Physics of Optical Materials and Devices (ICOM) – He is an adjunct senior scientist in the Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics at The University of Texas, Houston, USA. He is member of the Steering Committee of the Association of Italian and Serbian Scientists and Scholars - and member of the National Board for Physics of the Republic of Serbia. His participation and management experience includes coordinating of 8 Serbian national projects and 17 international (IAEA and European) projects. He has mentorship in 14 doctoral dissertations, three master thesis and trainings of young researchers.

Prof. Ivana Evans

Prof. Thomas Thundat

Prof. Miroslav Dramićanin

Department of Chemistry
Durham University, UK

NATO Country Project Director - NPD

Full Professor
Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences
National Institute of the Republic of Serbia

University of Belgrade

Partner Country Project Director - PPD


Empire Innovation professor

University at Buffalo

The State University of New York, US


  1. A. Ćirić, S. Stojadinović, Z. Ristić, Ž. Antić, M.D. Dramićanin, Temperature sensing using ruby coatings created by plasma electrolytic oxidation, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 331, 112987 (2021), DOI: 10.1016/j.sna.2021.112987.

  2. J. Periša, Z. Ristić, V. Đorđević, M. Sekulić, T. Dramićanin, Ž. Antić, M.D. Dramićanin, Multiparametric luminescence thermometry from Dy3+, Cr3+ double activated YAG, Journal of Luminescence, 238, 118306 (2021), DOI: 10.1016/j.jlumin.2021.118306

  3. A. Ćirić, Z. Ristić, J. Periša, Ž. Antić, M.D. Dramićanin, MgAl2O4:Cr3+ luminescence thermometry probe in the physiological temperatures range, Ceramics International, In press, DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2021.06.131

  4. A. Ćirić, T. Gavrilović, M.D. Dramićanin, Luminescence Intensity Ratio Thermometry with Er3+: Performance Overview, Crystals (2021) 11(2), 189,

  5. A.Ćirić, S. Stojadinović, Z.Ristić, I. Zeković, S. Kuzman, Ž. Antić, M.D. Dramićanin, Supersensitive Sm2+ Activated Al2O3 Thermometric Coatings for High-Resolution Multiple Temperature Read-Outs from Luminescence, Advanced Materials Technologies (2021),



Online ORION kick-off meeting


Prof. Ivana Evans

Department of Chemistry

Durham University, UK

Full Professor

Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences

National Institute of the Republic of Serbia

University of Belgrade


Prof. Miroslav Dramićanin


Prof. Thomas Thundat

Empire Innovation Professor

University of Buffalo

The State University of New York, USA