OPTIX project aims to tackle terrorist attacks

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European Commission-funded project OPTIX (Optical Technologies for the Identification of explosives) is developing a transportable system for the standoff detection and identification of explosives, using LIBS, Raman and IR spectroscopy. Avantes, a leader in the field of fiber optic spectroscopy, will supply newly developed spectroscopy systems for the project.

Benno Oderkerk, Avantes’ technical director, said: ‘We have been selected for the OPTIX project based on our vast experience in customer specific optical systems. We will develop new systems with our partners in this project, including the Universities of Malaga, Dortmund, Vienna, Clausthal and the Spanish Guarda Civil.’

The OPTIX project has been launched to possibly prevent terrorist attacks, as those in New York (2001), Madrid (2004) and London (2005). About 60 per cent of these attacks have been carried out by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and therefore the detection has been given a high priority to contribute to the security of European citizens.

Oderkerk added: ‘Spectrometers have proven to accurately detect even the smallest traces of substances. We will be developing a combined system of LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy), Raman systems and IR absorption. Together, they give an accurate description of the unknown substance being investigated.’