- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2014

A leading research institute in Germany and its partners have invented laser technology with the potential to make the illicit production of explosive devices almost impossible to conceal.

The quantum cascade laser, created by Germany’s Fraunhofer IAF through an EU project called EMPHASIS (Explosive Material Production Hidden Agile Search and Intelligence System), allows governments to detect the faintest amount of bomb-making residue in urban areas.

Fraunhofer IAF’s lasers, coupled with strategically-placed sensor systems throughout a city, allows officials at a single command center to see if trace materials are being disposed of in sewer systems, wafting out of air ducts or being left behind on specific buildings.

“Until now, no technology for systematically discovering illegal bomb production in an early stage has been commercially available,” the institute said Monday in a press release after a successful demonstration of the technology at the Swedish Defense Research Agency.

In addition to multiple static sensors that would monitor air and water, local authorities could also outfit vehicles with the new laser technology for surveillance purposes, the defense agency said on its website.

The creation of the quantum cascade laser comes amid increasing fears of the bomb-making capabilities of terrorist organizations.

In July, infamous al Qaeda explosives expert Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Technology coming out of the EU’s EMPHASIS project would make it exponentially more difficult for non-state actors to carry out IED attacks in urban areas.

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