Could Laser Technology Be The Next Asset In Airport Security?
Don’t ask us to explain exactly how terahertz spectroscopy works, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Princeton University think they have developed a way to harness the power from it to not only speed up checkpoint lines at airports, but to also make them more secure.
Think …. laser technology.
According to the website BRG, the researchers have developed a new quantum cascade laser the size of a computer chip that takes just 100 microseconds to identify an object’s spectroscopic signature, allowing the system to identify dangerous devices such as explosives in a fraction of a second.
That’s 1/10,000ths of a second for those of you not using Common Core mathematics at home.
Current terahertz spectroscopy is effective, but can take 15 to 30 minutes to analyze an object and identify its spectroscopic signature.
Talk about speeding up the security line. Airports have been inundated of late with chaotic situations involving long lines at Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints, to the point where Congress has had to step in and grant emergency funding to help alleviate some of the backup.
According to Engadget, the technology is obviously most relevant for security scanners, but its application could be used by doctors and scientists to find traces of materials that might otherwise go unnoticed and, someday in the future, might be compact enough that a consumer could use it to scan fruit, vegetables, meat and more to see if they are spoiled.
“With this work, we answer the question, ‘What is the real application of quantum-cascade laser frequency combs?’” lead researcher Yang Yang told MIT News. “Terahertz is such a unique region that spectroscopy is probably the best application. And QCL-based frequency combs are a great candidate for spectroscopy.”
The group’s paper was published recently in the journal Optica.
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