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On the safe side: Contact-free analysis of chemical substances
Date:4/16/2012

December 2011: Security forces intercept a letter bomb addressed to Josef Ackermann, the head of Deutsche Bank. At almost the same moment, a letter bomb explodes in an office in Rome. The hand of the manager in charge of Equitalia, the tax-collection authority, was injured. Until now, police officers or security staff have had to conduct painstaking inspections of any suspicious parcels and letters by hand - an error-prone approach. At the end of 2011, though, the scanner T-Cognition 1.0 from Hbner company of Kassel, Germany, went on the market. The device, developed with the assistance of Fraunhofer researchers, detects, without contact, substances such as drugs or explosives contained in unopened letters or flat packages. The partners will be demonstrating the scanner at the Analytica trade fair in Munich (April 17-19) at the joint Fraunhofer stand (Stand 433/530 in Hall A1).

You place the suspicious parcels or letters in a kind of drawer, and the device uses terahertz waves to determine whether it contains explosives. This protects confidentiality, and the mail can then be delivered safely," explains Dr. Joachim Jonuscheit, deputy division director at the Kaiserslautern facility of the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and the researcher in charge of terahertz analysis there. The attacks in Rome and Frankfurt fueled the security industry's interest in the analysis device.

Most dielectric materials, such as plastics, clothing or paper, are transparent to microwaves and can also be penetrated by terahertz waves with comparatively low reduction. For non-destructive non-destructive testing, the terahertz range is extremely interesting," the expert adds. On the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz waves can be found at the junction between microwaves and infrared radiation. The frequency range extends from 100 GHz to 10 THz; this corresponds to a wavelength from 3 mm to 30 m. Terahertz waves combine the benefits of
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Contact: Joachim Jonuscheit
joachim.jonuscheit@ipm.fraunhofer.de
49-631-205-5107
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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