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Scientists made a laser that can detect explosives from half a mile away

12
Aug
2014

Imagine a plane that can fly over large areas of land while identifying hidden stockpiles of drugs or explosives — thats the idea driving the development of remote laser sensing technologies. Now, a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings us that much closer to chemical-detecting planes, as researchers were able to use a single shot of laser light to detect individual chemicals located 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away. This opens up the door to an entirely new method for remote sensing, said Vladislav Yakovlev, a biomedical engineer at Texas AM University and a co-author of the study, in an email to The Verge. The ensuing scattering of light causes a color change in a small percentage of the laser pulses that hit the target.

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