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Human Odor as a Biometric for Deception

Solicitation Number: Labs09-01
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Office of the Chief Procurement Officer
Location: Office of Procurement Operations
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Sources Sought
Added: Mar 06, 2009 3:57 pm

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is seeking sources for a potential requirement to expand its set of biometric screening tools for deceptive individuals by investigating the possibility of using the human odor signature as an indicator for deception.


The DHS S&T Directorate is tasked with researching and organizing the scientific, engineering, and technological resources of the United States and leveraging these existing resources into technological tools to help protect the homeland. An important aspect of homeland protection is identification, at airports and ports of entry, of individuals who may have intent to inflict harm on the United States. Various biometric data can be used to conduct initial screenings, so that individuals whose biometric signatures indicate that they might be engaging in deception can be examined further. DHS S&T seeks to investigate whether or not the addition of human odor to biometric signature data would provide additional evidence of deception, thus improving the ability to identify individuals who may intend harm to the nation.


The DHS S&T Directorate is requesting approval for a contracted, outsourced, proof-of-principle study to determine if human odor signatures can serve as an indicator of deception. In a separate task, DHS S&T already is conducting experiments in deceptive behavior and collecting human odor samples; these activities will not be part of this proof-of-principle study. This research will consist primarily of the analysis and study of the human odor samples collected to determine if a deception indicator can be found. As a secondary goal, this study will examine the human odor samples for evidence to support the theory that an individual can be identified by that individual’s odor signature.

This research has the potential for enhancing our ability to detect individuals with harmful intent. A positive result from this proof-of-principle study would provide evidence that human odor is a useful indicator for certain human behaviors and, in addition, that it may be used as a biometric identifier.

Contractor Requirements/Technical Specifications:

• Must be able to collaborate and coordinate with the experimental team that will collect the human odor samples

• Must be able to receive and use the odor samples collected by the experimental team to perform this proof-of-principle study

• Must be knowledgeable in the human odor spectrum and its chemical components

• Must have demonstrated experience in working with volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in a laboratory environment

• Must have demonstrated experience with a gas chromatograph (GC) and mass spectrometer (MS), particularly in the identification and analysis of VOCs

• Must have demonstrated experience in the use of solid phase micro-extraction (SPME)

• Must have a laboratory with GC/MS capability

• Must be knowledgeable in the univariate and multivariate statistical and analytic methods required for examination and analysis of the collected human odor data

• Must have appropriate team in place with expertise in the above areas

This is not a Request for Quotation. Any information submitted by respondents to this synopsis is strictly voluntary. This Sources Sought Synopsis is in support of market research and being conducted by DHS to identify qualified potential sources capable of fulfilling the above requirements.

Interested parties shall submit a capability statement addressing the above statement of need. This capability statement shall not exceed two (2) pages in length, sent electronically to the contract specialist, Michele Midgett at by 4 p.m. eastern standard time March 11, 2009.

Office of the Chief Procurement Officer
Washington, District of Columbia 20528
United States

United States
Michele Midgett,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 202-254-6836