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Explosives detection research being conducted at Bangor University

Scientists at the School of Chemistry in Bangor University are working on novel sensor technology which will, it is hoped, soon be trialled in airports.  The group at the School of Chemistry in Bangor is working as part of a European consortium called Nanosecure.  The group consists of 26 partners both academic and industrial all working towards an integrated system which will detect airborne explosives, narcotics, chemical and biological agents.  The system will also be able to decontaminate the air from chemical and bio agents should some be detected.  It will do this by integrating with a building’s air-conditioning units.  One of the partners in this consortium is Schiphol Airport where it is hoped the units will be trialled. Dr Chris GweninDr Chris Gwenin

The School of Chemistry is the lead institution in the development of the explosives sensor that will be used in the detection unit. Scientists at Bangor are also helping to create the catalytic surfaces which will be used to decontaminate the air. The idea is to integrate the system with existing security measures at airports
“This is a very exciting area of research to be in at the moment,” explained Chris Gwenin, from the School of Chemistry.  “The recent international security alerts show a high level of innovation in the creation of terrorist explosive devices.  With the use of commercial explosive such as PETN being found in such devices it is clear that detection technology is urgently needed to avoid even more airport checks and further increases in passenger waiting times.”

Bangor University’s approach to this technology is based around the use of enzymes which detect different substances such as explosives.

Publication date: 8 November 2010