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New bottle screening tech could soon end liquid restrictions on planes

London, Sat, 21 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 21 (ANI): A new bottle-scanning system may put an end to bottle-dumping at airport security by April next year and allow aircraft passengers to carry liquid items over 100ml once more, researchers say.


Cobalt Light Systems of the UK has asserted that its explosives detector, which is currently under trial, has received approval from European civil aviation and can analyse bottles for explosives in less than 5 seconds.


The ban on carrying no bottles greater than 100 millilitres on aircraft was introduced following a foiled 2006 attempt by 17 would-be terrorists to blow up planes using hydrogen peroxide-based liquid explosives hidden in drink bottles.


Cobalt Light Systems - a spin-off from the Central Laser Facility in Harwell, UK - uses a microwave oven-sized machine that uses a near-infrared laser to interrogate the liquid, powder or gel molecules in a bottle and reveal what they are chemically, New Scientist reported.


The system, dubbed spatially offset raman spectroscopy, shines the near-infrared laser into the bottle at several points.


A small amount of the light reflected back at each point is shifted in wavelength by the energy levels in the liquid molecules, and this small shift discloses what the substance is.


According to CEO Paul Leoffen, the new technology essentially has a low rate of false alarms - it gives less than 0.5 per cent false positives - and reveals the seemingly innocent precursor chemicals that could be mixed inflight to create a potent explosive. (ANI)


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