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September 30th, 2005
Fast, highly reliable detection of residues that could indicate the presence of explosives and other hazardous materials inside luggage is now possible with technology under development at Purdue University.
A research team led by R. Graham Cooks has found a way to determine the presence on a surface of trace quantities of chemicals – such as those found in biological and chemical warfare agents, as well as several common explosives – within a few seconds. The researchers' method uses a tool common in many chemistry and biology labs called a mass spectrometer that has been modified to analyze samples directly from the environment rather than requiring the lengthy pre-treatment that laboratory mass spectrometry samples typically require.
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