The Innovation Fund Denmark is set to invest in a project conducted between physicists at Aalborg University and the MyDefence research and development (R&D) team.

The collaboration focuses on the development of a new portable terahertz spectroscopy device that will enable the detection of explosives at safe distances.

The Innovation Fund will invest kr6.1m ($1.01m) to fund the three-year and three-month-long DETRIS project.

The kr8m ($1.32m) ‘Detection of Explosives using Terahertz Radiation at Improved Standoff-distances (DETRIS)’ project will include several field trials, live testing, improvements of identification algorithms and close cooperation with researchers at Aalborg University.

MyDefence chief executive officer Christian Steinø said: “Explosives like those used in improvised explosive devices (IED) have a unique ‘fingerprint’ signature which can be clearly identified using terahertz spectroscopy.

“We have found a way to produce a portable terahertz spectroscopy device that, when realised, will allow us to detect explosives at safe standoff distances.”

“So far, the equipment for terahertz spectroscopy has been too bulky and fragile for out-of-the-lab applications or has been limited to measurements at distances of a few metres or less.

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By GlobalData

“Together with Aalborg University, we have found a way to produce a portable terahertz spectroscopy device that, when realised, will allow us to detect explosives at safe standoff distances.”

The use of terahertz waves poses a number of challenges, including detection range, as the waves are easily absorbed in water vapour.

This property of the waves could prove problematic especially when the technology is used to detect buried explosives in real-world settings.

The new device needs to be capable of issuing a warning to vehicle drivers when explosives are detected at far-off distances in time for drivers to react and remain safe.