DSC secures funding

New explosives scanning technology will be developed for the UK’s airports by Durham Scientific Crystals after the company secured £350,000 worth of Home Office backing for the project.


New explosives scanning technology will be developed for the UK’s airports by compound semiconductor specialist Durham Scientific Crystals after the company secured £350,000 worth of Home Office backing for the project.


DSC is developing a prototype scanner designed to automate detection of explosives and flammable liquids by giving security operators multi-view images of objects for the first time.


The company, a spin-out from DurhamUniversity, has developed technology to produce from vapour single crystals of the compound semiconductor cadmium telluride, which can be used as detectors of x-rays and gamma rays.


According to Sedgefield-based DSC, this assists the migration from analogue to digital x-ray imaging and allows direct ‘fingerprinting’ of materials such as explosives.


The company claimed the technology has the potential to ‘transform airport security’ by simultaneously improving security and passenger flow.


As well as helping to fund the £1.5m, two-year project, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch will provide technical guidance to ensure that the new scanner meets operational requirements for use at airports.


DSC hopes to have a small first prototype built within a year. A full-sized baggage scanner is planned to be ready within two years.


Earlier this year DSC was one of the three short-listed finalists in the University Spin-out category of The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards.