Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light

Date:
May 8, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
New research may help in the fight against terrorism with the creation of a sensor that can detect tiny quantities of explosives with the use of light and special glass fibers. The researchers describe a novel optical fiber sensor which can detect explosives in concentrations as low as 6.3 ppm (parts per million). It requires an analysis time of only a few minutes.

University of Adelaide research may help in the fight against terrorism with the creation of a sensor that can detect tiny quantities of explosives with the use of light and special glass fibres.

Related Articles


Published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, the researchers describe a novel optical fibre sensor which can detect explosives in concentrations as low as 6.3 ppm (parts per million). It requires an analysis time of only a few minutes.

"Traditionally explosives detection has involved looking for metals that encase them such as in land mines," says project leader Dr Georgios Tsiminis, from the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

"In today's world, however, homemade improvised explosive devices will often have no metal in them so we need to be able to detect the explosive material itself. This can be difficult as they often don't interact with chemicals and we don't want them near electricity in case they explode."

Instead, the researchers are using a plastic material which emits red light when illuminated with green laser light -- and the amount of red light it emits is reduced by the presence of explosives.

Three minute holes at the core of specially manufactured optical fibres are coated with the plastic or polymer material in a thin layer. The explosives sample is drawn up the holes in the fibre by capillary action and the amount of red light emitted measured.

"This has high sensitivity and we can detect tiny quantities of an explosive in a small sample," says Dr Tsiminis, who is an Australian Research Council Super Science Fellow. "And not only do we know if explosives are there, we can quantify the amount of explosive by looking at how the light emission changes over time."

Dr Tsiminis says the sensor is ideal for forensics investigations to determine whether explosives have been present in a particular location. It's inexpensive, quick and easy to use and could be done on site to detect trace amounts of explosive.

"What I like about this technology is that it has a lot of complicated physics underlying it, but it is really a very simple concept," Dr Tsiminis says.

"It also requires very little explosives present so is very sensitive. So forensic investigators would be able to take swabs from various surfaces, place them in some organic solvent and, within a few minutes, know if there have been explosives present."

The research was done in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fenghong Chu, Georgios Tsiminis, Nigel A. Spooner, Tanya M. Monro. Explosives detection by fluorescence quenching of conjugated polymers in suspended core optical fibers. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2014; 199: 22 DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2014.03.031

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095207.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, May 8). Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095207.htm
University of Adelaide. "Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095207.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Five minivans were put to the test in head-on crash simulations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
DARPA Creates The Tech You Can Only Dream Of

DARPA Creates The Tech You Can Only Dream Of

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Curious what a rocket-dodging car would look like? How about a robotic pack mule? Or maybe a wearable robot? These are a few of DARPA's projects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins