May 23, 2007 One of the telltale signs of an explosive crate, envelope or package is the tiny trace amounts of explosive chemicals the bomb-maker leaves on the outer of the package when he closes it. Trace quantities of explosives are very hard to wash off hands as well, which is the theory behind the XPAK, a new portable explosives detection unit that allows shipping officers and security personnel to quickly scan for trace quantities of explosives in the field.
RedXdefense's explosive detection systems utilise a silicon polymer "nanowire" developed by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The nanowire, 2,000 times thinner than a human hair, fluoresces under ultraviolet light, but loses its luminescence when it comes into contact with many classes of explosive. Thus, after it is sprayed onto a surface, any traces of explosives become clearly visible under a black light.
Explosives detected include TNT, DNT, RDX, HMX, PETN, Tetryl, C4, PE-4, Semtex, and Composition B, among others.
RedXDefense's new XPAK unit applies the UCSD polymer to a sampling wand that can be run over packaging, crates, hands, or any other surface and analysed in a small portable unit for signs of explosives. The system is light, portable and very intuitive, making it a very easy addition to a company's security regime.
RedX has successfully trialled the device with "a major shipping company" who reported that the simple system fit in well with their operational environment, easily taking samples from a variety of crates, pallets and other shipping containers. RedX claims the tool will be just as effective in scanning personnel, bags and mail.
The affordable XPAK will no doubt be welcomed in security-focused and terrorism-conscious industries. It will be available from Q3 this year.