Liquid explosives

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have developed a novel approach to testing for liquid explosives that could, in a few years, be used in homeland security. Stephen Surko of the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) working with colleagues at LANL are investigating how to detect liquids in airline baggage and on passengers and to identify the liquid's constituents quickly and precisely. Their MagViz prototype machine uses a type of MRI spectroscopy to match sample spectra with the chemical fingerprints of 50 potentially hazardous liquids stored in a linked database. "Our vision for MagViz is that it would be operated in series with more traditional X-ray systems, and a conveyor belt would seamlessly move baggage or other items from one to the next," explains Surko.