Airports may start using T-ray detectors

March 10, 2008

Security posts at U.S. airports could one day use T-ray detectors instead of X-ray machines to reduce inspection delays, a report said.

By using terahertz radiation machines at airport check points, security officials would be able to scan passengers without forcing them to remove their shoes and any metal objects, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

A British company, ThruVision, is to exhibit its version of the technology this week at an airbase in Buckinghamshire, England.

Currently, the harmless electromagnetic radiation beams are primarily used in research projects, but their ability to create molecular "fingerprints" could theoretically help detect bombs at U.S. airports.

Scientist Ken Gray, who is working with T-rays at Chicago's Argonne National Laboratory, said the call for such security technology has increased as of late.

"They'd like us to identify explosives," he said of interested commercial firms and the U.S. Department of Defense. "We're not there yet, but we're exploring several avenues to get us there."

The Tribune said if perfected, the T-ray scanning process could allow passengers to travel through security checkpoints quicker and improve luggage security scans as well.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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