DECEMBER 14--The US Navy has purchased two QScan QR160 explosives-detection devices from Quantum Magnetics Inc. (www.qm.com)--a wholly owned subsidiary of InVision Technologies Inc. (Newark, CA; www.invision-tech.com). The explosives-detection devices will be used for homeland defense. The device can screen mail, packages, briefcases, and similar items for the presence of high-threat explosives, according to Lowell Burnett, the president and chief executive officer of Quantum Magnetics.
The device uses quadrupole resonance (QR), which is related to the magnetic-resonance-imaging technology commonly found in hospitals. Using carefully tuned, low-intensity radio-wave pulses, QR probes the molecular structure of items, momentarily disturbing the alignment of target nuclei within the package or baggage. As the nuclei realign themselves, they emit a characteristic signal of their own, which is picked up by a receiver and sent to a computer for instant analysis. The signal emitted by each type of explosive, weapon, or illegal drug is unique, making it easy for the system to automatically distinguish harmless materials. More than 10,000 compounds have been investigated, and no two have produced the same signal.
QR is recognized as offering one of the most advanced, commercially available solutions to detecting small quantities of concealed explosives in carry-on baggage. With QR, the probability of detection is high, while false-alarm rates are low.
The QScan device requires little subjective analysis by operators; a red light signifies the presence of explosives, and a green light indicates that no target substances are present. In addition, the device is mobile and can rapidly screen cabin baggage, mail, and other small parcels.