Airport security research at Bangor University

image captionDr Chris Gwenin, a member of the Bangor team, says the research could have wider uses

Scientists are working on a new explosives sensor which it is hoped will be used in trials at airports.

The team from the School of Chemistry at Bangor University in Gwynedd are part of a 26-strong European consortium called Nanosecure.

When finished, the system will also be able to detect airborne narcotics, chemical and biological agents.

Also involved in the project is Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, where it is hoped the units will be tried out.

A university spokesperson said the integrated system, installed in the building's air-conditioning unit, will also be able to decontaminate the air from chemical and bio-agents, if they are detected.

'International security'

The School of Chemistry is the lead institution in the development of the explosives sensor, and is also creating the catalytic surfaces which will be used to decontaminate the air.

Dr Chris Gwenin from the School of Chemistry said it was an exciting area of work to be involved in.

"The recent international security alerts show a high level of innovation in the creation of terrorist explosive devices," he said.

"With the use of commercial explosives such as PETN being found in such devices it is clear that detection technology is urgently needed to avoid even more airport checks and further increases in passenger waiting times," he added.

Bangor University's approach is based around the use of enzymes which detect different substances such as explosives.

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