Michigan State University researchers have developed a laser that can detect micro-traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage, creating the possibility of laser-driven security checkpoints, MSU Today reports.
According to Marcos Dantus, MSU chemistry professor and founder of BioPhotonic Solutions, the laser can scan many people and their belongings quickly. It can also provide an image of the chemical’s exact location, including minute traces on zippers, for example.
The lasers would more likely be in a conveyor belt, similar to the X-ray scanners already used in airports, not necessarily handheld lasers used by security forces.
It uses a single beam but two pulses – one to resonate with certain chemical frequencies found in explosives and the other to serve as a reference. Any discrepancy between the two pulses indicates the presence of explosive materials, the article says.