Explosive | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Terahertz waves for explosives detection

    The chips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, which fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum — between microwaves and far-infrared radiation — and which can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays; when incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming

  • New sensor detects undetonated bombs on sea floor

    More than ten million acres of the world’s coastal waters are contaminated by undetonated explosives, according to the U.S. government; typically these small explosives rust and corrode at sea, making them even more dangerous; scientists have developed a sensor to detect undetonated explosives on the sea floor; the sensor is based on technology used to find mineral deposits underground

  • Improving the sensitivity of airport security screening

    Scientists are reporting a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations; scientists concluded that swab fabrics could be improved to collect smaller amounts of explosives by peppering them with hydroxyl, phenyl and amine functional groups

  • TSA replaces backscatter scanners with millimeter wave scanners at some airports

    TSA is replacing some backscatter scanners at large U.S. airports with millimeter wave scanners; backscatter scanners were criticized for violating travelers’ privacy, and risking travelers’ health by emitting high levels of radiation

  • Different technologies aim to replace dogs as explosives detectors

    Bomb-sniffing dogs are the best and most popular way for airport security quickly to detect anyone planning to bring explosives to an airport; scientists are trying to change that; Dr. Denis Spitzer and his colleagues, for example, are working on a sensor that will detect vapors of TNT and other explosives in very faint amounts; the device they are trying to create would replace dogs as the top bomb detecting method in the field

  • DARPA seeking tools for identifying hidden explosives at standoff

    The threat to U.S. soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is as varied as the makers of IEDs are resourceful in how they design and conceal the explosives; interdisciplinary teams needed to develop proof-of-concept demonstrations of technology for identifying presence of embedded explosives in opaque, high-water-content substances

  • Mice genetically modified to detect landmines

    In another advancement in explosives detection, scientists have genetically modified mice to enable them to sniff out landmines; the GM mouse, known as MouSensor, may one day become a significant tool to help deal with the dangerous legacies of past wars

  • CNN commentator complains of inappropriate TSA pat down

    A CNN commentator says she was molested by TSA agents when a routine security pat-down ended with federal agents repeatedly touching her private parts and refusing her a public screening

  • Boarding gate with built-in explosives detection speeds up airport security checks

    Japanese researchers have developed a boarding gate with built-in explosives detection equipment; the gate collects minute particles which have affixed themselves to IC cards or portable devices used as boarding passes, and can detect within one or two seconds the presence of explosive compounds using internalized equipment; the developers say the gate allows the inspection of 1,200 passengers per hour

  • Explosives dumped into Gulf of Mexico pose big problems

    Millions of pounds of unexploded bombs and other military ordnance that were dumped decades ago in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the coasts of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, could now pose serious threats to shipping lanes and the 4,000 oil and gas rigs in the Gulf, warns two oceanographers

  • Why common explosive sometimes fails

    The explosive PETN has been around for a century and is used by everyone from miners to the military, but it took new research by Sandia National Laboratories to begin to discover key mechanisms behind what causes it to fail at small scales

  • Radiation-enabled computer chips allow low-cost security imaging systems

    With homeland security on high alert, screening systems to search for concealed weapons are crucial pieces of equipment; these systems, however, are often prohibitively expensive, putting them out of reach for public spaces such as train and bus stations, stadiums, or malls, where they could be beneficial; until now

  • As shoe-scanning devices fail, passengers continue to remove their shoes

    In the last five years the U.S. government has tested several scanning devices for detecting explosives and other weapons concealed in the shoes of airline passengers; after spending millions of dollars on these devices, TSA has concluded that the detection systems are ineffective; the result: removing shoes at security check points is going to be a part of air travel for the foreseeable future

  • The costs, benefits, and efficiency of aviation security measures

    The threat of terrorist attack on American aviation has made the system the focus of intense security efforts, but it is difficult to determine if the benefits outweigh their cost; efficient security policy — a focus on getting the most security for the least cost — should be the priority in an era of fiscal austerity, says a new RAND report

  • New device dismantles pipe bombs safely, preserving forensic evidence

    Thousands of pipe bombs are made each year, and thousands of pipe bomb threats are called into local police and FBI authorities across the country; many are false alarms, but those that are not can be deadly; dismantling a pipe bomb is tricky and serious business, and missteps during the dismantling process can produce catastrophic results