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New infra-red device can remotely detect bombs

Posted on Mar 23 2014 | IANS

Washington, March 23 : Scientists have developed a new infra-red model that can detect potentially dangerous materials from a distance.

"The idea for this infra-red technology is to remotely detect the exact materials, chemicals and gases coming and going from factories or other sites suspected of illegal nuclear production," explained professor Candace Berrett from Utah-based Brigham Young University.

His model precisely characterises the material in each pixel of an image taken from a long-wave infra-red camera.

"The novelty of this model is that it directly separates the incoming signals to provide the material's unique signature. Other methods deal with the noise by matching the combined signals in a database," informed co-researcher Gustavious Williams.

Berrett and Williams tested their new method of analysing infra-red images with more basic materials using data taken by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

As the technique develops, this could do much more than spot a bomb-making plant.

"Imagine taking an infra-red picture from above a city struck by an earthquake or tornado. In addition to spotting all the gas leaks, it could reveal the exact gases being leaked and their concentrations in different neighbourhoods," Berrett noted.

Infra-red cameras capture wavelengths of light that are not visible to the human eye.

Hyper-spectral infrared cameras capture this light in hundreds of narrow bands.

The findings appeared in a report published by the journal Technometrics.

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