Indian scientists develop new technique to detect hidden explosives

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 04, 2014 19:16 IST

Scientists from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore have developed a new non-invasive technique to identify dangerous and hazardous chemicals hidden inside any container; this technique, in addition, can also be used as a medical diagnostic tool for detection of tumors.

This novel technique is based on Raman spectroscopy - Universal Multiple Angle Raman Spectroscopy (UMARS) and is based on illuminating the sample with the light source, which provides scattered light, offering molecular specific signatures to identify the chemical substance. The finding was published in research paper in the journal Nature Scientific Reports journal in June.

"This is the first technique in the world to detect the chemical component of the hidden material.Our technique can detect the chemical composition inside a closed container. It is like fingerprinting the chemical. Once this is installed in the airports, it can be a tool for detecting explosives or narcotics of any kind in a closed container," Prof Siva Umapathy the lead author of the study told HT.

Besides, he said this can also be used for detecting tumours and even finding out whether they are cancerous or not."This is a non invasive imaging which can give the chemical component of the tumour and thus identify whether it is cancerous or not."

"We have already patented the technology and have created the prototype. Now we are looking for industry partners who can help us take the technology forward," he said.

Where can this be used?
1.Airport Screening: The method can be used to detect and identify explosives packed in non-metallic containers, liquids in bottles such as water, milk, creams, emulsions, alcohol or other chemicals which is not possible with the X-ray baggage screening methods currently in use.

2.Railway Station: A portable system can be installed at the railway station for explosive detection of smallpackets, liquids concealed in bottles etc.

3.At check-points: It can be an ideal tool for detection and identification of explosives, drugs and other similar materials at the check-points.

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