Bomb-detecting lasers could speed up airport security

Airport security checkpoints are the bane of every traveler's existence. Not only do we have to stand in long lines, take off our shoes, and travel with ridiculously tiny amounts of liquid, but we also occasionally have to go through the intrusion and embarrassment of a full body pat-down or be scanned by machines that see us in our underwear. Fortunately, help is on the way. Scientists at Michigan State University have suggested that lasers could be used at security checkpoints to do scans faster and more efficiently.

Marcos Dantus, a chemistry professor at the university, has designed a bomb-detecting laser. The laser, which can detect even the tiniest amounts of bomb-making materials, uses a single laser beam with two pulses. The first pulse looks for certain frequencies associated with explosives, while the second pulse acts as a reference point for the first. Any difference between the two pulses indicates that explosives are present. The laser can also sniff out the exact location of a bomb material, whether it be on someone's shoe or hidden in their luggage.

What makes this laser truly unique is that it is 100% safe not just for luggage, but also for people. How do we know that? Danus' idea was inspired by a recent study done at Harvard that uses a laser to detect cancer in humans.

Scientists expect that this technology could be fully developed as a prototype within the year with the proper funding. Maybe in a few years' time, the agony of going through airport security checkpoints will be just a bad memory, or at least, a slightly worse memory than reality. It's either that, or we all give up and buy our own personal airplanes.

Via Michigan State University

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