"OPTICS: Photoluminescent method detects explosives at a distance"
Experience in photoluminescent spectroscopy has helped university researchers bring to light a method by which explosives can be detected at a distance. In contrast, to detect the presence of explosives today, airport and other screeners must swab an object like a suitcase or clothing, use a dog to sniff it, or blast puffs of air across a filter that traps airborne explosive particles. The advantages of the photoluminescence-based explosive detection method are that it can be remotely applied and that it requires neither time-consuming and expensive machines nor trained dogs. All you do is shine a laser on an object and watch for the photoluminescent "signature" distinctive of explosives. Whether it's an approaching ship, a suitcase, a moving car or a pile of trash half a mile up the road, if you can shine a green laser on it, professor Rolf Hummel at the University of Florida (Gainesville) says he can tell you whether it's an explosive device.