You can say that many advancements made in the world of science and technology were inspired by nature itself, and the same can be said of bomb sniffing dogs who are immaculately trained to detect explosives even in the most mundane of situations. Well, it seems that the laboratory has managed to yield a new kind of bomb-detecting polymer which could very well result in the phasing out of bomb sniffing pooches. Bear in mind that there is no 100% foolproof method, as dogs, despite their keen sense of smell, are not always accurate in their assessment of a particular situation, and this has led to extra measures such as the time consuming swabbing of one’s hands.
Chemists at Cornell University has a solution in the form of an extremely sensitive polymer which is capable of detecting Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs in short. This polymer is capable of determining certain explosives even if it is present in the air. It does so by absorbing light and transporting the resulting energy throughout its entire structure, where this energy is later released as light via a fluorescence process. Should the energy detect a molecule of explosive as it travels through the polymer, it will convert into heat instead of light – which leads to the polymer’s glow stopping. Now that’s a smart visual indicator of a potential explosive in the area, no? Thing is, you will never be able to replace the kind of bond that you would have with your dog, and taking polymers out for walks is no fun.