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Explosives Trace Detection

Innovation & Technology

Photo of a TSO

Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) are the size of a minivan and employ technology similar to a medical CAT scan. Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) equipment, however, is much smaller - about the size of a large suitcase. Officers may swab a piece of luggage and then use a portable ETD to analyze the swab for traces of explosives.

New technology is being developed to increase the efficiency and throughput of existing EDS machines, and TSA scientists are testing upgraded models of ETD equipment.