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Having long kept details of its explosives capabilities under wraps, a team of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists is now rolling out a collaborative project to defeat explosives threats through enhanced detection technologies.
According to LANL, the team is aiming to create a collaboration of strategic public and private partners focused on the innovations in and education about explosives detection technologies. Through the Los Alamos Collaboration for Explosives Detection (LACED) online portal and related collaborations, the team will be able to provide expertise in some extremely specialized fields.
The LACED site serves as a virtual gateway to world-class expertise and capabilities designed to counter all types of explosives threats, predominantly through enhanced detection capabilities.
The site went public online in January and is beginning to attract attention among specialty audiences.
The explosives detection collaborative is made up of 57 scientific experts, spanning 18 technical divisions at LANL. Ranging across 11 unique fields of expertise, these scientists have published more than 100 explosive-detection-related publications.
And what, besides making the windows rattle in Los Alamos County, do these experts do?
According to the lab, among other things, they provide training, with specific know-how on nearly anything that can explode.
For the U.S. military, there’s a homemade explosives situational awareness class that includes replica villages with mock improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to provide realistic training before warfighters encounter the real thing.
Another course, the Homemade Explosives for Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technicians class, is focused in even more detail on homemade explosives and includes training in the safety, sensitivity and performance of these devices, as well as their synthesis and manufacturing methods.
From the chemistry of the ingredients, through the nuances of triggering devices, the trainers seek to ensure military personnel get home safely from their deployments.
Detection is key to safety in this field.
LANL scientists and engineers have a long history of developing detection technologies for every conceivable type of explosive under a variety of scenarios. Detection methods range from trace and signature characterization to bulk detection and new methods that address homemade or esoteric explosives.
Advanced image analysis, exquisite surveillance technologies, remote detection and spectroscopy to find trace quantities of explosive vapors and residues.
, a whole range of high-tech tools is on hand, some new and some fundamentally enhanced from their original forms.
And the new collaboration seeks to put these tools in the hands of the people who will need them the most.