New airport scanner can detect liquid explosives

London, Oct 25 (Calcutta Tube) The ban on carrying liquids on planes could be lifted soon in Europe as British scientists have developed a scanner that can detect dangerous chemicals.

Manufacturers have been given official approval in Europe to use the new generation of X-ray machines at all European airports.

It will pave the way for the day when passengers can carry their own drinks on planes once again.

The new device can tell the difference between water and liquid explosives and even check the barcode to make sure the contents haven’t been tampered with, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The machine would end the confusion surrounding ban on liquids that adds to delays for millions of British holidaymakers and could be in place by April next year.

The ban on liquids in hand luggage was imposed in August 2006 after police uncovered a plot to smuggle explosives on to planes using drinks containers.

Three Britons were jailed for life last year for their plan to destroy at least seven planes — carrying more than 200 passengers — using chemicals hidden in soft drink bottles.

The security rules have led to scenes of frustration at airport security desks with passengers forced to throw away drinks containers, bottles of perfume and even tubes of sun cream before boarding.

By April 2011, the regulations are being eased to allow transit passengers to carry liquids on board as long as airports have good enough scanners.

The new scanner has been created by Kromek — a spin-off company from Durham University.

Arnab Basu, the company’s chief executive, said: ‘The best analogy is that compared to conventional X-ray scanners, this is the difference between seeing an object in black and white and seeing it in colour.’

The new scanner is far more sensitive and can distinguish between different wavelengths of X-rays.

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