Washington: A Michigan State University (MSU) researcher has developed a laser that can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage, making the process quicker and more practical.
Marcos Dantus, an MSU chemistry professor and founder of BioPhotonic Solutions, published his new research in the current issue of Applied Physics Letters, which has put the possibility of bomb-detecting lasers at security checkpoints within reach.
Dantus said this method uses a single beam and requires no bulky spectrometers making it possible to scan many people and their belongings quickly.
He further added that the laser not only detects 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 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.
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.
Dantus said the laser is not affected by the color or surface of clothes or luggage.
The method has Raman chemical specificity, excellent sensitivity and robust performance on virtually all surfaces, he added.