BBC reports on bomb-sniffing sensors using Serstech’s technique
“The criminals and terrorists are ahead of us. They’re really good at finding new ways to create bombs…. and we need new technologies, new ways of finding bomb factories.” Prof Oestmark
Prof Oestmark says that the sensors could provide vital intelligence to the police and potentially save lives. “With the London bombings in 2005, the bombs were made in Leeds, and the police had some intelligence,” he says. “If these sorts of sensor were deployed, you would have had a fair chance of detecting the bombs.”
The technology from Emphasis and two other projects called Lotus and Bonas* is being trialled at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (known as FOI in Sweden). The team there has created a replica of a bomb lab, where they are making explosives to put the devices to the test.
Henric Oestmark is the research director of energetic materials – or, as he puts it, anything that goes bang. “We want to test it as realistically as possible,” he says.
“If you have a normal lab, you have very clean air, for example. You need to simulate what is happening in real life if you are going to find a bomb factory.”
Most homemade bombs are hydrogen peroxide or fertiliser-based, he says. “They have chemicals you buy in a normal supermarket, and they are using them to make bombs.”
*Serstech has contributed in the Bonas project with their ultrasmall Raman spectrometer.