Washington: Michigan State University scientists have developed a laser that could detect roadside bombs – the deadliest enemy weapon encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The laser, which has comparable output to a simple presentation pointer, potentially has the sensitivity and selectivity to cover large areas and detect improvised explosive devices – weapons that account for around 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths.
The detection of IEDs in the field is extremely important and challenging because the environment introduces a large number of chemical compounds that mask the select few molecules that one is trying to detect, said lead researcher Marcos Dantus, chemistry professor and founder of BioPhotonic Solutions.
“Having molecular structure sensitivity is critical for identifying explosives and avoiding unnecessary evacuation of buildings and closing roads due to false alarms,” he said.
The invention has been published in the current issue of Applied Physics Letters.