Monday, March 28, 2011

New idea: Figh terrorists with curry powder (a cheap sensor for explosives)

Turmeric - The main chemical in the curry spice turmeric could be the basis for cheap explosives detectors, say researchers.

The curcumin molecule is already well-known in medicine for its anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.

Now, research presented at the American Physical Society meeting suggests it could replace more complex solutions to spot explosives like TNT.

As it gathers molecules of explosive material in air, changes in its light-emitting properties can be measured.

This "fluorescence spectroscopy" is already employed in a wide array of sensing and analysis techniques.

Illuminating some chemicals causes them to re-emit light of a different colour, sometimes for extended periods - an effect exploited in, for example, glow-in-the-dark materials.

The intensity of this re-emitted light can change if different molecules bind to the fluorescent ones, and that is how sensing techniques exploit the effect. ...

via BBC News - Curry powder molecule 'is cheap sensor for explosives'.

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