Feasibility of Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR) as a technique for screening individuals for surgically implanted explosives

Abstract

Current technology for screening individuals at secure areas is most adept at identifying metallic objects and objects carried outside of the body. æSurgically implanted explosive devices remain challenging to detect. æNuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) is a technique that may be suitable for identifying person-borne explosives, including those that are surgically implanted. æTo use NQR as a screening technology, bursts of MHz-frequency signals are applied to the sample being screened. æBy using an antenna to listen to the return signal, it is possible to determine whether common solid-state explosives are present (TNT, RDX, PETN, etc.). æThis research examines the feasibility of using NQR to find explosives inside the human body. æIts potential advantages include: the ability to identify explosives irrespective of their geometry and placement on or within the body; low false-positive rates due to each substanceÍs highly specific resonance spectra, and due to the technology being insensitive to trace quantities of explosive; ease of privacy concerns due to technology being non-contact and non-imaging. æThe largest challenge in using NQR for personal screening is the poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) associated with NQR. æOur investigation is therefore focused on determining the system requirements that maximize the SNR ratio and minimize the time necessary to scan an individual.