Toward a more secure world

In war zones, at airport security screening, around oil refineries, in manufacturing facilities—the list of hazardous environments or potential danger reflects the nature of the modern world. Fortunately, threat detection techniques using optical sensing technologies are being developed to meet safety and security needs in these diverse situations. Our cover story, for example, is about a single-beam stimulated Raman scattering technique under development at Michigan State University that can detect and identify traces quantities of explosives at 1–10 m standoff distance on a variety of substrates (see page 15).

Techniques for threat detection also include Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and thermal imaging. Some require large or prohibitively expensive equipment, are susceptible to fluctuations in ambient conditions, have a weak signal, or involve laser sources that are not eye-safe. In this issue, researchers at M Squared Lasers describe a laser-based hyperspectral imaging technology that addresses these concerns. Initial development has been aimed at detecting and identifying deposits of chemical warfare agents on surfaces, but such a hyperspectral imaging system also could be used to identify substances of interest in oil and gas production, mining, food and drink processing, and forensics (see page 28).

Fingerprints are a valuable forensics tool for law enforcement, and for preventing identity theft and securing buildings. Researchers at Tel Aviv University contributed an article describing a portable low-coherence holography system for 3D fingerprint images, which should further broaden the number of potential applications (see page 54).

As this issue demonstrates, personal and societal security remains one of the greatest values supported by photonics.

W. Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/
Editor in Chief

Most Popular Articles


Fiber Optic Sensors – Fundamentals, Principles and Applications

In this webcast, sponsored by Nufern, we focus on optical fiber sensing technology.  Fundamental concepts will be presented first, followed by the under...
White Papers

Tailored bar concepts for 10 mm-mrad fiber coupled modules scalable to kW-class direct diode lasers

In this paper, laser modules based on newly developed tailored bars are presented. The modules al...

Wavelength stabilized multi-kW diode laser systems

Wavelength stabilization of high-power diode laser systems is an important means to increase the ...

Optical Isolators Improve Engraving Performance of Pulsed Fiber Lasers

The deleterious effects of back reflections on pulsed fiber lasers used in marking and engraving ...
Technical Digests

OPTICAL COATINGS: Evolving technology produces new benefits

The antireflection, high-reflection, and/or spectral characteristics provided by optical coatings...

REMOTE FIBER-OPTIC SENSING: Data in abundance from difficult environments

The use of optical fibers to measure strain, temperature, and other parameters at desired points ...

SCANNERS FOR MATERIALS PROCESSING: Serving demanding applications

Galvanometer-based scanners are an essential component in laser-based materials-processing system...

Click here to have your products listed in the Laser Focus World Buyers Guide.


AFL Rebrands Optimal Cable Services

10/03/2013 AFL began its rebrand of Optimal Cable Services, a manufacturer of fiber optic cable and provider...

AFL Introduces New Family of NYFORS™ Recoating Products

10/03/2013 AFL now offers Nyfors Teknologi AB’s new family of recoating products including the ReCoater 2™, ...

Vytran Introduces Compact Automated Optical Fiber Cleavers for High-Volume Manufacturing

09/25/2013 Vytran introduces the “CAC-400” and the “CAC-400-A”—compact, automated, large-diameter optical fi...

Vytran to Highlight Optical Fiber Processing Solutions for Fiber Laser Production and Others at CLEO: 2013

06/05/2013 Vytran will emphasize its tools and techniques for creating optical fiber splices and fused-fiber...
Social Activity
Copyright © 2007-2015. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS