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08.03.12 News | Today's News | Past Issues
08.03.12 News
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Chemical Sensor Makes Finding Landmines And Buried IEDs Easier

A chemical sensing system developed by engineers at the University of Connecticut is believed to be the first of its kind capable of detecting vapors from buried landmines and other explosive devices with the naked eye rather than advanced scientific instrumentation. The key to the system is a fluorescent nanofiberous film that can detect ultra-trace levels of explosive vapors and buried explosives when applied to an area where explosives are suspected. A chemical reaction marking the location of the explosive device occurs when the film is exposed to handheld ultraviolet light. If there is no explosive vapor present, the recyclable film retains a bright fluorescent cyan blue color when exposed to ultraviolet light. If explosive molecules are present, the fluorescence is quenched and a dark circle identifying the threat forms on the film within minutes.
Image credit: Ying Wang/UConn and Advanced Functional Materials, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA