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Scientist develop real-time chemical sensor to enhance airport security


A team of European scientists have created a real-time, hand-held chemical sensor that will increase airport safety, reduce car emissions, and combat unnecessary food wastage.The device can scan from a distance of up to 30 metres and is capable of instantaneous,real-time, unambiguous detection. Harnessing new photonics technology, the device uses spectroscopic sensors, that read the unique frequencies, or ‘signatures’ given off when liquids or gasses interact with light.

Capable of delivering a realistic detection rate of one every few seconds,the new device is six time more faster than state of the art trace portal scanners .

The MIRPHAB, or ‘Mid-Infrared photonics devices fabrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications’ project, is being coordinated by CEA-Leti, France, and has received funding of €13million from the European Commission’s Photonics Public Private Partnership under the Horizon 2020 program, and €2 million from the Swiss Government.

Project coordinator Sergio Nicoletti says “we are making the next generation of sensors that are compact, low cost and low on power consumption and capable real-time detection where the speed and sensibility is unrivaled.

The device has numerous different abilities, for example, the early identification of diseases,scanning   bacteria in fridges or even detecting the presence of alcohol from far off.This device could be installed on the front of airport ,scanning crowds in real-time for suspicious material, like explosives or illegal drugs,before they even entered the building.

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