Aviation securityNew airport scanner can detect liquid explosives

Published 5 July 2011

Passengers boarding airplanes could soon be walking through security checkpoints carrying liquids once more thanks to a high tech scanner capable of detecting liquid explosives; the device, developed by U.K. based Kromek, is capable of identifying dangerous liquids within seconds and does not require the container to be opened

Passengers boarding airplanes could soon be walking through security checkpoints carrying liquids once more thanks to a high tech scanner capable of detecting liquid explosives.

Last week the new scanner made its debut at Durham Tees Valley Airport in the United Kingdom for an operational trial.

The device, developed by U.K. basedKromek, is capable of identifying dangerous liquids within seconds and does not require the container to be opened.

“Up to now we have had to adopt checking measures which involve physically opening a container in order to carry out the checks, which is both time-consuming and can in itself involve safety considerations for security staff carrying out the examinations,” said Shaun Woods, the Durham Tees Valley Airport manager. “The scanner developed by Kromek is safe, easy to use, quick and requires no physical sampling.”

The revolutionary new airport scanner can identify a range of liquids including explosives, alcohol and narcotics. Dr. ArnabBasu, the CEO of Kromek, explained that the device uses color x-ray technology which allows it to tell the difference between substances much like a human eye functions.

The scanner then checks the item’s “spectral signature” against all internationally-recognized dangerous materials to provide a pass or fail reading.

The device has already been given official European Union certification and could soon be installed in European airports to scan liquid devices.

New laws in the United Kingdom, would allow passengers to carry liquids beginning in the Fall, provided that airports have proper screening equipment in place. The liquids ban will be lifted in April 2013 and all airports in the European Union must have appropriate equipment in place by then.

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