Airport security and efficiency are both compromised by the process of requiring passengers to remove their shoe.
A novel shoe scanner developed at the GE Security San Diego Center of Excellence uses both Quadrupole
Resonance (QR) and configuration-sensitive metal detection to identify threats hidden in shoes. The shoe
scanner was developed with an open-access chassis and scanning chamber that allows passengers to stand in the
system in a natural position during the scanning process. More traditional magnetic resonance systems are closed
or partially closed and cannot be used for screening personnel because the scanning chambers confine the object
in question. The shoe scanner's novelty lies in a particular chassis geometry that allows both QR and metal
screening. The resulting scanning system achieves the same level of performance as a more confining system.
The shoe scanner is small enough to allow integration with other sensors such as the GE Itemizer FXTM trace
detection system. In fact, the first application of the novel shoe scanner is expected to be as a component in a
multi-sensor verification and security system known as the Secure Registered Traveler (SRT) Kiosk. The SRT
kiosk is designed to be used as part of the TSA's Registered Traveler Program.
Quadrupole Resonance sensors have the unique capability of detecting explosives from buried, plastic-cased
antipersonnel and antitank landmines. The chemical specificity of this radio-frequency technique provides the potential
to deliver remarkably low false alarm rates during landmine detection. This is of particular importance to deminers, who
frequently come across numerous clutter items before uncovering a mine. Quadrupole Resonance is typically utilized in
a confirmation mode; preceded by rapid primary scans carried out by, for example, metal detectors, ground penetrating
radars or a fusion of these. Significant technical and scientific advances have resulted in the fabrication of handheld and
vehicle mounted Quadrupole Resonance landmine detectors in compact, power-efficient configurations. The
development work is focused on baseline sensitivity increase, as well as the achievement of high detection performance
under field conditions. The mine detection capability of Quadrupole Resonance detectors has been evaluated during
various blind tests. A modular handheld unit, combining primary and confirmation sensors, was designed to be operated
by a single person. A series of field tests demonstrate the unique capability of Quadrupole Resonance for significant
false alarm reduction.
Quantum Magnetics is developing a system based on magnetic resonance (MR), combined with a proprietary technology, to screen for chemical agents in nonmetallic containers, without the need to open the container. It derives from the successful design and testing of a similar system for detecting liquid explosives. Preliminary measurements indicate that the system promises to quickly screen for many chemical agents and to offer an unambiguous hazard/safe result. The system will be designed to be portable and easy to operate, to need minimal human interpretation, and to be ideal for operation at checkpoints, government building, airports, and the like.