March 16, 2009

New explosives detection method is created

U.S. and Danish scientists say they have discovered a way to sensitively detect explosives based on the physical properties of their vapors.

The researchers said their technology, which is being developed into prototype devices for field testing, is capable of trace detection of explosives.

Certain classes of explosives have unique thermal characteristics that help to identify explosive vapors in presence of other vapors, said Thomas Thundat, a researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.

The scientists, including researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, said their new technology is also capable of distinguishing between explosive and non-explosive chemicals and of differentiating between individual types of explosives.

The research is detailed in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, which is published by the American Institute of Physics.