Navigation Links
Finding explosives with laser beams
Date:2/27/2012

This release is available in German.

People like to keep a safe distance from explosive substances, but in order to analyze them, close contact is usually inevitable. At the Vienna University of Technology, a new method has now been developed to detect chemicals inside a container over a distance of more than a hundred meters. Laser light is scattered in a very specific way by different substances. Using this light, the contents of a nontransparent container can be analyzed without opening it.

Scattered Light as a "Chemical Fingerprint"

"The method we are using is Raman-spectroscopy", says Professor Bernhard Lendl (TU Vienna). The sample is irradiated with a laser beam. When the light is scattered by the molecules of the sample, it can change its energy. For example, the photons can transfer energy to the molecules by exciting molecular vibrations. This changes the wavelength of the light and thus its colour. Analyzing the colour spectrum of the scattered light, scientists can determine by what kind of molecules it must have been scattered.

Measuring over Great Distances with Highest Precision

"Until now, the sample had to be placed very close to the laser and the light detector for this kind of Raman-spectroscopy", says Bernard Zachhuber. Due to his technological advancements, measurements can now be made over long distances. "Among hundreds of millions of photons, only a few trigger a Raman-scattering process in the sample", says Bernhard Zachhuber. These scattered particles of light are scattered uniformly in all directions. Only a tiny fraction travel back to the light detector. From this very weak signal, as much information as possible has to be extracted. This can be done using a highly efficient telescope and extremely sensitive light detectors.

In this project (funded by the EU) the researchers at TU Vienna collaborated with private companies and with partners in public safety, including The Spanish Guardia Civil who are are extremely interested in the new technology. During the project, the Austrian military was also involved. On their testing grounds the researchers from TU Vienna could put their method to the extreme. They tested frequently used explosives, such as TNT, ANFO or RDX. The tests were highly successful: "Even at a distance of more than a hundred meters, the substances could be detected reliably", says Engelene Chrysostom (TU Vienna).

Seeing Through Walls

Raman spectroscopy over long distances even works if the sample is hidden in a nontransparent container. The laser beam is scattered by the container wall, but a small portion of the beam penetrates the box. There, in the sample, it can still excite Raman-scattering processes. "The challenge is to distinguish the container's light signal from the sample signal", says Bernhard Lendl. This can be done using a simple geometric trick: The laser beam hits the container on a small, well-defined spot. Therefore, the light signal emitted by the container stems from a very small region. The light which enters the container, on the other hand, is scattered into a much larger region. If the detector telescope is not exactly aimed at the point at which the laser hits the container but at a region just a few centimeters away, the characteristic light signal of the contents can be measured instead of the signal coming from the container.

The new method could make security checks at the airport a lot easier but the area of application is much wider. The method could be used wherever it is hard to get close to the subject of investigation. It could be just as useful for studying icebergs as for geological analysis on a Mars mission. In the chemical industry, a broad range of possible applications could be opened up.


'/>"/>

Contact: Florian Aigner
florian.aigner@tuwien.ac.at
43-158-801-41027
Vienna University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Football findings suggest concussions caused by series of hits
2. Findings prove Miscanthus x giganteus has great potential as an alternative energy source
3. New findings by St. Michaels researchers about the way cells work
4. Spasticity gene finding provides clues to causes of nerve cell degeneration
5. Sensational bird finding in China
6. Senses of sophistication: Mosquitoes detect subtle cues finding food, spreading diseases
7. The leading edge of stress: New genomic, optogenetic and epigenetic findings
8. Texas Biomed develops new approach to study depression; finding may lead to new marker for risk
9. UH engineers finding new ways to fight malaria with DOD grant
10. New findings validate the accuracy of autism diagnosis in children with Down syndrome
11. Finding relief in ritual
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Finding explosives with laser beams
(Date:6/9/2016)...  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the ... employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and ... business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ ... project. This collaboration will result in greater convenience ... credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow and ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" ... by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP ... States based venture capital funds which together ... (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they ... their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business ... strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the ... such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that ... the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: