Airport security and efficiency are both compromised by the process of requiring passengers to remove their shoe.
A novel shoe scanner developed at the GE Security San Diego Center of Excellence uses both Quadrupole
Resonance (QR) and configuration-sensitive metal detection to identify threats hidden in shoes. The shoe
scanner was developed with an open-access chassis and scanning chamber that allows passengers to stand in the
system in a natural position during the scanning process. More traditional magnetic resonance systems are closed
or partially closed and cannot be used for screening personnel because the scanning chambers confine the object
in question. The shoe scanner's novelty lies in a particular chassis geometry that allows both QR and metal
screening. The resulting scanning system achieves the same level of performance as a more confining system.
The shoe scanner is small enough to allow integration with other sensors such as the GE Itemizer FXTM trace
detection system. In fact, the first application of the novel shoe scanner is expected to be as a component in a
multi-sensor verification and security system known as the Secure Registered Traveler (SRT) Kiosk. The SRT
kiosk is designed to be used as part of the TSA's Registered Traveler Program.
GE Security and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City (NSWC-PC) have collaborated to develop a magnetic
gradiometer, called the Real-time Tracking Gradiometer or RTG that is mounted inside an unmanned underwater vehicle
(UUV). The RTG is part of a buried mine hunting platform being developed by the United States Navy. The RTG has
been successfully used to make test runs on mine-like targets buried off the coast of Florida. We will present a general
description of the system and latest results describing system performance. This system can be also potentially used for
other applications including those in the area of Homeland Security.
We have designed and constructed a magnetic gradiometer for underwater mine detection, location and tracking. The United States Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC PC) in Panama City, FL has conducted sea tests of the system using an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). The Real-Time Tracking Gradiometer (RTG) measures the magnetic field gradients caused by the presence of a mine in the Earth's magnetic field. These magnetic gradients can then be used to detect and locate a target with the UUV in motion. Such a platform can also be used for other applications, including the detection and tracking of vessels and divers for homeland (e.g., port) security and the detection of underwater pipelines. Data acquired by the RTG in sea tests is presented in this paper.
Military forces conducting urban operations are in need of non-line-of-sight sensor technologies for enhanced situational awareness. Disposable sensors ought to be able to detect and track targets through walls and within rooms in a building and relay that information in real-time to the soldier. We have recently developed magnetic sensor nodes aimed towards low cost, small size, low power consumption, and wireless communication. The current design uses a three-axis thin-film magnetoresistive sensor for low bandwidth B-field monitoring of magnetic targets such as vehicles and weapons carried by personnel. These sensor nodes are battery operated and use IEEE 802.15.4 communication link for control and data transmission. Power consumption during signal acquisition and communication is approximately 300 mW per channel. We will present and discuss node array performance, future node development and sensor fusion concepts.
Magnetic sensors configured as a tensor magnetic gradiometer not only detect magnetic targets, but also determine their location and their magnetic moment. Magnetic moment information can be used to characterize and classify objects. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and thus many types of improvised explosive device (IED) contain steel, and thus can be detected magnetically. Suitable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms, both gliders and powered craft, can enable coverage of a search area much more rapidly than surveys using, for instance, total-field magnetometers. We present data from gradiometer passes over different shells using a gradiometer mounted on a moving cart. We also provide detection range and speed estimates for aerial detection by a UAV.
Quantum Magnetics is developing a system based on magnetic resonance (MR), combined with a proprietary technology, to screen for chemical agents in nonmetallic containers, without the need to open the container. It derives from the successful design and testing of a similar system for detecting liquid explosives. Preliminary measurements indicate that the system promises to quickly screen for many chemical agents and to offer an unambiguous hazard/safe result. The system will be designed to be portable and easy to operate, to need minimal human interpretation, and to be ideal for operation at checkpoints, government building, airports, and the like.
Passive magnetic measurements may be used to determine the azimuth, bearing and range to the target in real time using suitable signal processing without illuminating the target. Collision and even close approach must be avoided for classes of targets such as proximity fuzed mines. This paper describes a simple safety algorithm that monitors data from such a tensor magnetometer system and overrides the normal autopilot to ensure a minimum radius is always maintained
from all magnetic targets encountered.
An increasingly important need today is to guard against terrorist attacks at key locations such as airports and public buildings. Liquid explosives can avoid detection at security checkpoints by being concealed as beverages or other benign liquids. Magnetic resonance (MR) offers a safe, non-invasive technology for probing and classifying the liquid contents inside sealed non-metallic containers or packages. Quantum Magnetics has developed a Liquid Explosives Screening System or `Bottle Scanner' to screen for liquid explosives and flammables, described at an earlier SPIE conference in 1996. Since then, the Bottle Scanner's performance has been significantly improved by the incorporation of neural network-based liquid classification. Recently we have shown that the incorporation of additional discrimination parameters can further enhance liquid classification. In addition to screening for explosives and flammables, the Bottle Scanner can be effective against chemical agents, many of which contain fluorine or phosphorous, both of which have MR signatures. Finally, we have evidence that the Bottle Scanner may also be able to detect narcotics dissolved in beverages, one of the methods used to smuggle narcotics across international borders. The development of the Bottle Scanner has been funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
A particularly disturbing development affecting transportation safety and security is the increasing use of terrorist devices which avoid detection by conventional means through the use of liquid explosives and flammables. The hazardous materials are generally hidden in wine or liquor bottles that cannot be opened routinely for inspection. This problem was highlighted by the liquid explosives threat which disrupted air traffic between the US an the Far East for an extended period in 1995. Quantum Magnetics has developed a Liquid Explosives Screening systems capable of scanning unopened bottles for liquid explosives. The system can be operated to detect specific explosives directly or to verify the labeled or bar-coded contents of the container. In this system, magnetic resonance (MR) is used to interrogate the liquid. MR produces an extremely rich data set and many characteristics of the MR response can be determined simultaneously. As a result, multiple MR signatures can be defined for any given set of liquids, and the signature complexity then selected according to the level of threat. The Quantum Magnetics Liquid Explosives Screening System is currently operational. Following extensive laboratory testing, a field trial of the system was carried out at the Los Angeles International Airport.
An increasingly popular method of transporting modest quantities of narcotics across international borders is to employ 'swallowers'. These are people who typically enter the country as international airline passengers after swallowing small, water-tight packages of heroin and/or cocaine. Rapid and accurate identification of swallowers in the airport environment poses difficult technical changes. Commonly used medical inspection technologies fall into one of two categories. Either they are unsuitable for widespread use, or they do not provide adequate information. An example of the former is x-ray scanning, while an example of the latter is ultrasonic imaging. Quantum Magnetics has developed a system to screen selected airline passengers for the presence of swallowed narcotics. The system utilizes magnetic resonance, which provides the physical basis for the magnetic resonance imaging systems widely used in the medical community as an alternative to x-rays. The system is currently operational, and laboratory performance testing is complete. Both the design of the system and its performance will be discussed. This work was sponsored in part by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the US Customs Service.
Superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) are the most sensitive detectors of magnetic fields yet devised. We have used a SQUID-based system to detect nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in several room-temperature samples. The results demonstrate that SQUID- detected NMR can be used to distinguish chemical differences between substances. The results also illustrate the broader potential of SQUID NMR for detecting specific materials in situations where conventional NMR is impractical.