Waves Could 'see' Hidden Explosives

TROY, N.Y., July 12 (UPI) — Hidden explosives, chemical or biological agents and illegal drugs could be detected from as far as 65 feet away using a new technique, U.S. researchers say.

A team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is developing an optical system using terahertz (THz) wave technology that can “see through” clothing and packaging materials and recognize the THz “fingerprints” of hidden substances, an institute release said Monday.


Terahertz waves, between the infrared and microwave bands, can be used in imaging and sensing methods beyond conventional technologies, such as X-ray and microwave, the release said.

THz radiation travels through almost anything that is not metal or liquid and can “see” through most materials that could be used to conceal explosives or other dangerous materials, the researchers say.

Terrorism threats and the attempted Christmas Eve bombing attempt of a Northwest Airlines flight have increased interest in the technology from Homeland Security and the Defense Department, which have both funded much of the Rensselaer research, the release said.

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Categorized | Other, Radiation
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