Technology advances in etd for airports
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Technology Advances in ETD for Airports

Explosive Trace Detection technology is crucial for keeping ahead of emerging potential threats to airport security. Boosting the usage of this equipment at checkpoints and departure gates helps increase security to keep the travelling community safe.

What are Explosive Trace Detectors?

Explosive Trace Detectors (ETDs) can detect bombs, drugs, narcotic substances, and deadly explosive chemicals such as Nitro-glycerine, Ammonium Nitrate, and RDX in minimum time. In addition to distinguishing between military, regular, and handmade explosive devices, ETDs can also classify the explosives on the basis of their character using different sampling methods. The explosive trace detection system shall thus help in identifying the fatality of the explosive.  The purpose is to identify and prohibit those who have handled harmful or potentially illegal substances from gaining access.

Role of ETDs in Airports

Nowadays, ETD technology is regularly used at checkpoints and boarding areas, where the airport authority conducts screenings. The increasing incidents of terrorist activities in the world require airports to adopt explosive trace detectors because airports are places with a large human or financial asset base.

Given the variety of explosive dangers that airports confront, airports must be equipped with high-quality explosive detection capabilities to assure their security. ETDs can effectively detect explosives by utilizing utilising the physical properties of explosives.

Additionally, micro sensor-based ETDs can detect dangerous explosives like RDX, Ammonium Nitrate, and Nitroglycerine. The devices use a simple and easy method of detection. The explosive molecules are pre- concentrated on a swab or swipe. The swab is inserted in the device. The released molecules are absorbed from the swab and the presence of explosives is detected and the result is processed for reporting and confirming traces of explosives. Certain technologically enhanced ETDs further classify the explosives in various categories and can detect explosives with a sensitivity of as low as 10 nanograms. High-speed electronics and advanced signal processing algorithms support the detection result.

ETDs can accurately detect all classes of the military, conventional and homemade explosives, including Nitroglycerine, TNT, HMX, RDX, TATP, Ammonium Nitrate, and plastic explosives. As soon as an ETD device identifies explosives in nanograms, it gives visible and audible alerts to security personnel via a sunlight-readable colour display. The devices use user friendly interface for notifying the results on the message window to the operating personnel.

Advancements in ETD for Enhancing Airport Security

Explosive trace detectors have become an integral component of the layered aviation security structure at various airports across India and the world. As an efficient intelligence process and security system, it has thwarted most terrorist bomb threats against the aviation industry before they could be carried out, though some notable exceptions exist. Consequently, steps are being taken to upgrade ETDs with sensors, immunosensors, and graphene and carbon nanotubes so that the device can perform immaculately.

Role of ETD Swabs

ETD Swabs are engineered to be used in ETD devices. These swabs are subjected to high temperatures to eliminate trace elements so the system can identify them.

A majority of air travelers in developed countries are familiar with ETD systems.

ETD machines analyse trace materials through an ionization process and detect minute explosive traces (nanograms level). The security screener must take a swab of an object's surface or passenger's clothing and place it inside the machine, which detects traces of explosives using a nanogram level. Handbags, cell phones, shoes, and hands are other places where ETD swabs can be used to detect chemicals. Taking a sample and running it through an ETD device takes seconds, ensuring customer safety with minimal inconvenience.

The collection of comprehensive samples requires using suitable sampling processes appropriate for the chemical to be sampled, so that sample collection rounds can be conducted systematically with respect to the item to be swabbed.

Canine olfactory systems

Detecting explosives through animals is still far superior to many of the technologies currently used, which is why animals will continue to be used for detecting explosives. Dogs, pigs, and honey bees are examples of animals used in explosives detection. Sniffer dogs trained for contraband screening are increasingly utilized for their ability to perform real-time screening. However, sniffer dogs have a drawback; they require months of training. Despite these constraints, researchers have attempted to replicate elements of canine olfactory systems.

Sensors or Electronic Noses

Electronic Noses are the result of attempts to emulate animal olfactory systems. E-noses are capable of integrating a sensor with pattern recognition software for detecting vapour.

Field-effect transistors (FETs), quartz crystal microbalance, chemiresistors, and electrochemical sensors are just a few of the sensor technologies that have been employed to develop Electronic Noses. Even the most intelligent versions, however, are still lagging behind their mammalian counterparts in terms of performance.

Wrapping Up!

As safety regulations tighten and are updated, airports must be vigilant in maintaining safety and security of the travelers. Bomb detection equipment, such as ETD, powered by advanced technologies, can help airports ensure they are always in compliance.


Source: Times Of India

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