Student Login

Edmonton scientist develops new way to detect explosives

By Admin User on March 22, 2019

Dr. Christina Gonzalez, a scientist from the University of Alberta, has created a new method of explosive detection that can be carried in your pocket.

“The strip of paper is no bigger than a business card,” explains Gonzalez. “It’s also impregnated with our silicone-based microdots, so essentially very small nano-particles. These microdots, when illuminated with a pocket flashlight or a UV light, will glow a specific colour.”

The strips can detect a variety of explosives, including RDX and TNT. RDX is commonly used to create C-4, a military explosive compound. TNT is the most commonly used explosive for public blasting and demolition.

A sample of the strips

Gonzalez first wrote about the process in 2014 in her grad paper. The paper caught the eye of Dr. David Antoniuk, the CEO of Applied Quantum Materials. Antoniuk immediately took her under his wing in the company.

With the assistance of a Mitacs fellowship, Gonzalez and Antoniuk were able to begin developing the microdots in 2018. In December, Applied Quantum Materials announced it had successfully developed the microdots.

So what we hope that it will work for is that it will be a screening method for explosives that could be used for in different areas and one of the uses we could see relevancy in are airports security systems. Since our strip is actually portable, we can take it to the field, so maybe we can use it to test a car, or a podium or a site of interest.

Dr. Christina Gonzalez

Antoniuk says Applied Quantum Materials is hoping to begin public testing with Transport Canada this fall.



Follow Us!

Like Us On Facebook!