Airport Security Could be Helped by Terahertz Lasers

/ 8 years ago

Terahertz spectroscopy could help doctors and airport staff alike find the materials others want to keep hidden

When it comes to airport security, people are always looking at new ways of protecting how we travel from devices and people who seek to harm others. One of the key parts of the security process is the bag scanning, detecting everything from your toothbrush to a bomb hidden in the lining of a suitcase. Researchers at Princeton and MIT look to bring Terahertz spectrum scanning technology to airport security.

The problem with current terahertz spectrum scanning hardware is that the machine would be the size of a suitcase and still need half an hour to scan each piece of baggage. With it taking half an hour per scan, MIT and Princeton researchers are looking at making the device more airport-friendly with the scan timing as little as 100 microseconds to identify any substances it finds.

The new system, a quantum cascade laser system, sounds like an amazing piece of technology and with the single tiny laser searching with the help of a gigantic cooling unit to stop the system blowing up. While the device would do amazing things for our airports, it’s unlikely to reach the security gates anytime soon with the device being heralded by Princeton’s Gerard Wysocki as a “great first step” rather than the final product that we will see used in airports and hospitals around the world.

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