New Laser for Explosives Detection

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

"A high powered laser is the next wave in national security and in helping fight the War on Terror," says FAMU researcher Lewis Johnson.

A huge federal grant has helped Johnson and his team find a new way to detect explosives on land and at sea.

"In the future, you want something to be able to scan ships very remotely, a kilometer or two kilometers out in the water, to see what is going on and to detect nuclear traces or other explosives traces," says Johnson.

He believes the laser, when completed, will help save hundreds of lives.

"Soldiers come across hidden mines and get killed. What soldiers would love is something that could scan the road ahead and detect TNT, RDX, or whatever explosive it is," adds Johnson.

To help conduct test simulations the team is using what is considered the fastest computer in the state of Florida.

"This computer is going to be 200-250 times faster than your normal computer," says research assistant Nickolas Christopher.

The Army's Space Missile Defense Command has given about four million in grant dollars to see the research along.

Doctoral student Cleon Barnett says, "Pressure is something we feel everyday as scientists to produce valuable results."

Dr. Johnson and his team hope to have the laser used in military field training within the next five years.


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