EADS' SODERN business unit has developed the Unidentified Luggage Inspection System (ULIS), which was supported by funding from the EADS Corporate Technical Office. Packed in a compact suitcase, this portable system specialises in detecting threats and illicit materials that could be hidden in luggage or other containers. ULIS can be used at airports, in train and subway systems, at high-security facilities and in key public areas.
The system utilises a neutron and X-ray emission system, along with gamma ray detectors. The nature and location of suspect material is computed by using directional information from the particle detector and time-of-flight measurements of the neutrons, while material composition is derived from comparing the detected gamma ray energy spectra with ULIS’ library database. In typical operations, the ULIS case is positioned next to the suspect object and activated from a safe distance of 10 to 30 metres. The system’s software can rapidly determine if there is a threat and if the detection is positive, the type of material and its quantity are displayed along with an indication of the detection’s confidence level.
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From as close as 10 metres in open space, the ULIS case – which weighs 34 kilograms – can get an automatic indication of a threat or no-threat condition with supporting 3-D images to aid in the response.
Sensing clean water
Another EADS development is the Bio Sensor System, which applies advanced optical sensor technology to provide fast detection of biological hazards and threats. Equipped with micro-machined filters produced using silicon technology, the system can be 'tuned' to identify a full range of harmful bacteria and single-cell organisms – with processing times of an hour or less, compared to several hours or days with other methods. The system’s applications include the detection of biological hazards or threats in water reservoirs for cities, in water supplies on ships, trains and buses, in the production of pharmaceutical products and even in dentists’ offices.
EADS Innovation Works has also developed the Laser Ion Mobility Spectrometry (LIMS) sensor, which detects chemical and explosive threats, as well as drugs. An ultraviolet laser beam selectively ionises gas substances, with the resulting molecules analysed in a specialised sensor. This provides high selectivity and sensitivity in the detection process. Development work with LIMS has shown its ability to detect some 14 different explosives, representing the majority of such materials available around the world. LIMS is being industrialised by Cassidian, with potential uses ranging from the screening of passengers and luggage at airports with a medium-sized system, to palm-sized versions that can be deployed by the military, civilian agencies and law enforcement personnel.