Hitachi Ltd developed a technology of automatically detecting explosive materials attached to hand-carried baggage for the purpose of improving safety at airports, etc.
The new technology enables to drastically reduce the time that it takes to check for explosive materials, which are currently looked for by officials wiping the surface of the baggage. As a result, it becomes possible to check all the hand-carried baggage. The minimum inspection time is about five seconds.
By combining an explosive detection system using the new technology and an existing X-ray inspection system for hand-carried baggage, it is possible to check for explosive materials attached to hand-carried baggage and look for hazardous materials (by using the X-ray inspection system) in succession without hampering the flow of people.
Because such an explosive detection system enables to check all the baggage, it will greatly contribute to preventing hazardous and explosive materials from being carried onto an airplane at an airport, Hitachi said.
The new technology was developed based on a mass spectrometric technique, and it enables to automatically analyze explosive materials attached to hand-carried baggage while the baggage is being carried on the conveyor belt. Specifically, a large amount of air is sprayed on the baggage on the conveyor belt to scrape the particles of explosive materials from the surface of the baggage and collect them.
Then, the particles are separated by a cyclone separator, and their components are analyzed. With this method, the particles of explosive materials attached to hand-carried baggage can be quickly analyzed with a high sensitivity.
Hitachi has already prototyped an explosive detection system and confirmed that it is possible to conduct the mass spectrometric analysis of particles attached to hand-carried baggage and X-ray inspection in succession by directly connecting the system to an X-ray inspection system.