New nanomaterial could detect, disarm bombs, save our airport dignity

A newly-discovered nanomaterial could provide a fast and easy way to detect and disarm explosives, and finally get the TSA out of our pants. The material is a compound of molybdenum that reacts with peroxide-based explosives, changing color from a deep blue to a pale yellow. A swatch or sensor of the stuff could be used to detect explosives in an airport, as it's sensitive enough to register minute vapor traces of explosives — and it could be small enough to deploy as a badge for firefighters, soldiers, and police officers.

The nano-ink also inhibits the explosive, so a suspected bomb could be sprayed with the stuff until it stops changing color - or just dumped in a bucket of it, Roger Rabbit style. Since this material is specifically designed to deal with the sorts of bombs the TSA is worried about, it could mean the end of no-fly liquids, nanometer scanners, and overly intrusive patdowns.


Image by Baloncici/Shutterstock

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