In an invention that could serve crucial in enhancing the security system and checking terror attacks, the scientists have developed bomb-detecting lasers that are much equipped and advanced than the common x-ray detecting machines in a bid to foil bomb attacks.
Michigan State University researchers have developed a laser that can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage.
“Since this method uses a single beam and requires no bulky spectrometers, it is quite practical and could scan many people and their belongings quickly,” Dantus said. “Not only does it detect the explosive material, but it also provides an image of the chemical’s exact location, even if it’s merely a minute trace on a zipper.”
This doesn’t mean that security forces will be armed with handheld laser in airports, however. This laser would more likely be in a conveyor belt, like the X-ray scanners already used for airport security. The low-energy laser is safe to use on luggage as well as passengers, he added.
Scientists have been struggling hard for decades to develop scanning equipments that are powerful enough for detection, but safe enough to use on people.
Dantus’ bomb-detecting laser works as a single beam, but uses two pulses. The first resonates with certain chemical frequencies found in explosives. The second, a shadow pulse, serves as a reference. A discrepancy between the two pulses indicates the presence of explosive materials.
“The laser is not affected by the color or surface of clothes or luggage,” Dantus said.
The Department of Homeland Security funded the research. The research was published in Applied Physics Letters.