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Researchers Develop Advanced Explosives Detector

A potential detection solution is being proposed by researchers as the traditionally used explosive detectors fail to identify trace amounts of TNT from terrorist bombs in public places, and airports.

The research initiative reported in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry represents creating a device, wherein TNT vapors will be concentrated in the air, making it more detectable.

According to Yushan Yan and colleagues, terrorist bombs and the anti-personnel mines depend on TNT and other conventional explosives. Every year, over 15,000 people are being killed and badly injured in combat countries. Open environments, like minefields, airports, train stations can have insignificant concentrations of these explosives, such as TNT in per trillion parts of air. This poses challenge for mine detectors and conventional bomb in detecting the explosives.

A preconcentrator developed by the researchers can provide 1,000x increase in the detection levels of TNT and related explosives within a minute. A "molecular sieve" membrane was created on the surface of holes by the researchers. Concentrated molecules of explosives will be caught in these holes, enabling the security agents to carry out precise and easy detection of even low levels of explosives.

National Science Foundation and the China Scholarship Council funded the research.

Established by the U.S. Congress as a nonprofit organization, the American Chemical Society includes 164,000 members, signifying the largest scientific society. It focuses on supporting chemistry-related research with its scientific conferences, multiple databases, and peer-reviewed journals. Its main offices are based in Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

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