Physics-Based Innovation will Improve Airport Security Screening

Physics-Based Innovation will Improve Airport Security Screening

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

A new technology will enable airport security scanners to detect explosives in an improved method. A team of physicists at the University of Sussex, UK, have used a single pixel camera and Terahertz electromagnetic waves for the development, still theoretically, of airport scanners that can detect explosives.

The method deals with capturing with high accuracy, not just an object’s shape, but also its chemical composition with the help of a special “single point” camera that can operate at Terahertz (THz) frequencies.

The technique could be employed for designing high-resolution cameras in other frequency ranges which could then become part of the technology for body scanners, collision sensors or ultra-rapid radars for self-driving cars.

The unique imaging concept that was developed is called Nonlinear Ghost Imaging. The approach produces a new type of image that provides much more information on an object. Terahertz radiation, lying between microwaves and infrared in the electromagnetic spectrum, has a much greater wavelength to visible light. It can effortlessly penetrate a number of common materials like clothes, plastics, and paper heading towards the development of technology within security scanning and manufacture control which permits people to see inside objects and wrapping.

The radiation incites a different response from biological samples though, permitting researchers to categorize materials which are practically indistinguishable with visible light.

Scientists are of the belief that THz waves could have a huge potential in developing critical applications such as medical diagnostics, explosives detection, food safety, and quality control in manufacturing.

However, the challenge lies in the development of cost-effective and reliable cameras as well as the potential to detect objects smaller than the wavelength. But, the team of the Emergent Photonics Lab may have discovered a way to overcome these limitations by employing a different approach to earlier studies in this field.