The US Department of Energy has awarded Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. a $750,000 contract for the development of a sensor system for monitoring toxic waste. The company has demonstrated a spectral analysis approach to detect certain contaminants in isolation and in spectra taken from materials at a hazardous waste site. It will further develop an unmanned, cost-effective technology for the rapid characterization and quantitative analysis of hazardous chemicals in a variety of conditions.The software-based, spectral recognition technology will use signal processing to enable accurate quantitative assessments of situations where the signal-to-noise ratio is less than 1:1. The method will eliminate the need for on-site experts. Potential commercial applications include controlling jet fuel quality and monitoring the condition of turbine oil.