MSU Researchers Develop Bomb-Detecting Laser
EAST LANSING (WWJ) – A research team at Michigan State University has developed a bomb-detecting laser that might save soldiers’ lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The highly sensitive laser can potentially detect roadside bombs, which have been responsible for 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths.
MSU scientists say their laser can detect one billionth of a gram of explosive material by “kicking” the molecules to make them vibrate. The vibrations they give off are said to be as individual as fingerprints.
“Having molecular structure sensitivity is critical for identifying explosives and avoiding unnecessary evacuation of buildings and closing roads due to false alarms,”said chemistry professor Marcos Dantus, who led the research team.
“The laser and the method we’ve developed were originally intended for microscopes, but we were able to adapt and broaden its use to demonstrate its effectiveness for standoff detection of explosives,” said Dantus.
Dantus told WWJ Newsradio 950 he is hopeful they can help soldiers overseas soon, but their biggest obstacle is money.
“We think that we could have a system ready, maybe not for a backpack but for a mobile unit, we could have a system that could be ready for a year, but that depends on funding,” he said, adding that he hopes to net additional funding to take this laser from the lab and into the field.
This research was funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security.
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