Scientists have created a system of lasers and sensors that can detect illegal bomb making from a distance of 20m, as they try to detect illicit bomb-making factories in our cities.
This means counter terrorism officers will be able to quickly see if bomb manufacturing has happened in an area, as traces of the substances used to create the devices will be left.
The system has been developed as part of the Euopean Union’s project EMPHASIS, which is trying to find new ways to detect explosives in urban areas.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF, in Sweden, developed the laser technology that can detect dangerous substances at a distance of 20m.
Lasers will be used alongside the sensors to zone in on the exact location that the bomb are being, or have been, made.
The overall project envisages static sensors that have the ability to monitor long distances and analyse the air to see if there are any traces of explosives in the air.
This is then complemented by sensors monitoring subway systems that are all controlled by a command centre where the data is analysed.
If a positive match is found then security personell will be called to the scene where they will covertly capture more data – as part of a joint project by the EU, called LOTUS, to create mobile bomb detection units.
The lasers made by the team use the infrared spectrum, so they aren’t able to cause damage to the human eye.
“Our laser technology can reliably detect even faint traces of dangerous substances from a distance of about 20 meters,” says Dr. Frank Fuchs, who leads the project at Fraunhofer IAF.
“Quantum cascade lasers can principally be used wherever the chemical nature of a surface or its change through pollution is of interest”, says Fuchs.
“As our lasers are widely tunable, they can be adapted specifically for different issues and be the basis for highly sensitive sensors in different applications”.
Featured image and image one courtesy of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF. Image two courtesy of Swedish Defence Agency.