Magazine article Risk Management

Time Running out for Bomb Detection Technology

Magazine article Risk Management

Time Running out for Bomb Detection Technology

Article excerpt

Seven years after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, airlines and regulators are still searching for an effective method of bomb detection.

Part of the reason the search continues is that explosives are more difficult to detect than common weapons. Explosives are not metallic, so typical and even advanced X-ray screening won't pick them up. They can also be deceptively shaped to resemble common travel items.

In response to these shortcomings, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed a set of classified criteria that bomb technologies must meet before they can be certified.

To date, only one machine using computed tomography (CT) has been certified. Developed by InVision Technologies, Inc., it is still being tested in airports. A number of other methods are in some stage of development or testing. These include dual energy X-ray, in which luggage is subjected to two different X-ray energy levels to calculate the density and composition of objects in a bag; backscatter technology, which uses an X-ray beam and a receiver; and quadruple resonance, which subjects a bag's contents to radio frequency energy. …

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