Ultra Wide Band signature analysis for detection of weapons & explosives

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Electronic, Electrical and Computer Eng


This project will look at an important gap in the protection against terrorism: the ability to spot weapons & explosives (CW&E) that are hidden on a person's body (e.g. a 'suicide bomber'), and to detect them, especially at a distance. The project will carry out a study of using ultra wideband (UWB) sensors. These sensors are a portable piece of equipment which radiates an extremely short radio pulse. The project will introduce how to design such a sensor and what its performance will be like. The goal of the project is to design a system which can perform better than any other system, and which isn't too expensive. Eventually it is hoped that a system will be designed that can detect hidden weapons and explosives in an open area, without having to channel people through a narrow space.A UWB sensor is not a brand new system, but scientists from the University of Birmingham have thought of a new way of using them based on a concept called, late-time response (LTR) analysis . LTR is based on a principle of physics which is not very well known. The LTR of any object can produce a model which directly depends on the objects' shape and electrical properties. That means that particular targets have particular signatures , which identify them, just as we all have our own signature when we sign our name; and it is this signature which the project uses. In terms of using it to improve security however, the use of LTR may be a world first. The project hopes to establish the possibility of building a product which can detect hidden weapons and explosives. The results of the project will include theoretical and experimental data. Of course there are limitations to the technology, and in the project these need to be decided, especially if a product is going to be made which can be sold, and the eventual aim of the project is to use the technology to produce commercial products. There are a number of areas which may be interested in this product and these include: Airport security systems, b) Hidden security in public open spaces (e.g. Shopping Malls), c) Security at Government or Industrial sites, d) Baggage screening. During the project, interested users will be invited to discuss their needs for this product, making it as relevant as possible. It is not intended to produce a prototype system as part of the project, but the possibility of the essential elements will be demonstrated. The technology may be used with other technologies. For example, the system could be used to select suspected persons for further scanning using high frequency (Terahertz) imaging, to obtain more details. In some areas the product developed in this project may be a lot cheaper than equipment which is already used, for example in airports, where scanning equipment can cost around 100 thousand pounds; the technology in this project should be able to offer a cheaper solution. As well as airport screening, other security products could also be developed: e.g. protecting public spaces, aiding drugs investigation. There are also likely to be benefits into other areas, e.g. military equipment to help with peacekeeping tasks. However, the project offers not only commercial benefits. Throughout the project, it is intended that research papers will be published which will help scientists understand this new technology, improving scientific understanding of the late response principle. But perhaps the most important aspect of this project will be to help prevent terrorist attacks, which is the biggest benefit of all, and whose value cannot be counted.
Description Thales Research Ltd 
Organisation Thales Group
Department Thales Research & Technology (Uk) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006