Better airport security scanner developed

February 7, 2007

U.S. government scientists say they are developing a "universal point detection system" -- a three-in-one airport security scanner.

The machine devised by George Farquar and colleagues at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory simultaneously screens airline passengers and baggage for explosive, as well as chemical and biological, threats.

The device uses a technology called single-particle aerosol mass spectrometry, or SPAMS, that has already been successful in detecting chemical and biological agents. The new research expands the technology's capabilities to include several kinds of explosives.

The researchers say their device has the potential to detect the one dust-speck-sized particle of explosive residue weighing 1 trillionth of a gram on an individual's clothing or baggage.

"SPAMS is a sensitive, specific, reliable option for airport and baggage screening," the scientists said. "The ability of the SPAMS system to determine the identity of a single particle is a valuable asset when the target analyte is dangerous in small quantities or has no legal reason for being present in an environment."

The research is to be detailed in the March 15 issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Sniffing out a broad-spectrum of airborne threats in seconds

Related Stories

Sniffing out a broad-spectrum of airborne threats in seconds

June 9, 2008

Scientists in California are reporting successful laboratory and field tests of a new device that can sniff out the faintest traces of a wide range of chemical, biological, nuclear, and explosive threats - and illicit drugs ...

Recommended for you

Physicists develop new technique to fathom 'smart' materials

November 26, 2015

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and Leiden University have found a way to better understand the properties of manmade 'smart' materials. Their method reveals how stacked layers in such a material work together to bring ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.