Real-time chemical sensor to improve airport security

Real-time chemical sensor to improve airport security

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A team of European scientists has created a hand-held chemical sensor capable of instantaneous detection from a distance of 30m. Harnessing new photonics technology, the mid-IR sensor uses spectroscopic sensors that read the unique frequencies, or signatures, given off when liquids or gases interact with light.

Capable of a detection rate of one every few seconds, the device is six times faster than portal scanners.

The MIRPHAB, or ‘Mid-Infrared photonics devices fabrication for chemical sensing and the spectroscopic device can also detect diseases, scan for bacteria in fridges and detect the presence of alcohol. According to Jose Pozo, lead researcher and Director of Technology and Innovation, at the European Photonics Industry Consortium, spectroscopic sensing in the Mid-IR wavelength band (3 to 12μm) could help with climate change and monitor emission controls. Pozo explains that MIRPPHAB will turn these achievements into businessand commercial opportunities for both SMEs and large industrial groups.

The device could be installed on the front of airports, scanning crowds for suspicious material, like explosives or illegal drugs, before they even enter the building.