Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

0.2 second test for explosive liquids

21.10.2009
Since a failed terrorist attack in 2006, plane passengers have not been able to carry bottles of liquid through security at airports, leaving some parched at the airport and others having expensive toiletries confiscated, but work by a group of physicists in Germany is paving the way to eliminate this necessary nuisance.

Research published yesterday, Tuesday, 20 October, in IOP Publishing's Superconductor Science and Technology explains how a new form of spectroscopy, a scientific method that uses electromagnetic radiation to identify materials, and a novel nanoelectronic device to detect signals, can identify explosive liquids, or liquid components for the fabrication of explosives, in usual plastic bottles almost instantly.

Discussing the different molecular signatures, or atomic make-up, of simple liquids such as water, ethanol and acetone (a flammable liquid), the researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich, an inter-disciplinary research centre situated between Aachen and Cologne in Germany, explain the need to extend the frequency range of spectral analysis to increase the reliability of liquid explosive detection.

While the idea of using electromagnetic radiation to inspect the properties of liquids is already thought a viable route to detecting explosive liquids, previous devices, working at single fixed frequencies within a small frequency range, cannot unambiguously distinguish mixtures of different liquids containing dangerous components which can be used as an explosive.

The researchers from Jülich have suggested a fast and reliable way to increase the range of frequencies that their spectrometer can analyse, thereby verifying the molecular signature of the liquid and creating a much more detailed 'thumbprint' that can be checked against the range of possibly dangerous liquids available to terrorists.

The researchers' new method of spectrometry is called Hilbert spectroscopy. It works over a wider range of frequencies, from a few gigahertz to a few terahertz. With the incorporation of a nanoscale electronic device, a Josephson junction, the researchers have undertaken practical detection experiments which directly transform the electromagnetic spectrum received by the spectrometer into an electrical signal which warns of suspicious fluids.

As the researchers write, "Our first experiments showed that with simple measurements at four frequencies ranging from microwave to terahertz we are able to perform fast and reliable identification of various widespread liquids, such as water, ethanol, propanol and acetone, placed in a plastic container. We have made and continue to make significant steps towards a practical device."

From Tuesday, 20 October, the journal paper can be found at http://stacks.iop.org/SUST/22/114005.

Joseph Winters | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms
20.02.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

nachricht Observing and controlling ultrafast processes with attosecond resolution
20.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>