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Earth observation sensor adapted to hunt explosives

UK: Satellite technology intended for earth observation has been adapted to create an instrument that can recognise explosives remotely. Developed by a team of scientists in the UK, the system uses an infrared laser to detect volatile compounds given off by explosives and other dangerous materials. The new explosives detector was created by Damien Weidmann and his team at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The researchers believe that the flexibility and range of the Active Coherent Laser Spectrometer (ACLaS) makes it ideal for all kinds of hazardous or undercover gaseous-phase sampling, including detecting toxic leaks, chemical-warfare agents, illegal drugs manufacture or highly localised industrial air pollution. “[It] has a very high spatial resolution because you”re looking from a distance at a very narrow area and you can direct where you”re looking,” explains Weidmann.

The new device has been tested at distances up to 50 m and gives unambiguous chemical identification and quantification readings in as little as 3 s.

Source: Physics world