Non-Invasive Sentinel at Airports

A new security instrument, released and demonstrated in Washington DC, now makes it possible to screen individuals for a full range of substances in a non-invasive manner.

Barringer Technologies’ walkthrough portal, called the Sentinel, is intended to provide enhanced security at airports, government buildings and other high security sites.

Barringer say The Sentinel can screen about seven people per minute and can detect minute particles or vapours of a full array of substances.

The Sentinel is not dissimilar to airport metal detectors: the individual stands in the portal – which also acts as a metal detector – whilst airflow gently dislodges particles. Particle samples, as well as vapours, are collected and analysed within seconds.

The Sentinel portal incorporates IONSCAN technology, coupled with sample collection technology developed by Sandia National Labs.

Barringer’s IONSCAN and the new Sentinel utilises ion mobility spectrometry, which performs real time chemical analysis and identifies a ‘fingerprint’ of a target substance. That fingerprint is based on the unique rate of movement of a particular substance

The technology is said to be so sensitive that minute concentrations of explosives, drug residue or chemical agents on a person’s skin or clothing, will be detected.

This technology efficiently traps the target particles and vapours from a large airflow, which are then directed to Barringer’s IONSCAN detector for analysis.

‘Up until now, we could only scan people for metal objects’, said Kenneth Wood, President of Barringer Technologies. ‘Screening people non-invasively for trace amounts of explosives, drugs or chemical agents is a major advancement.’