Trace detection is a complicated field involving the screening and discovery of small explosive and narcotic particles or vapors.  Morpho detection trace devices range from the very compact to systems the size of a minivan and are used every day in public places and government facilities. Here we provide you with some of the key terms and definitions used in trace detection screening:

Trace Detection: Refers to the detection or discovery of small explosive or narcotic particles or vapors. 

ETD: Explosive trace detection. Explosive substances are organic materials and constantly give off traces that cannot be seen by the human eye. ETD refers to the trace amounts of particles that are released by explosive materials (such as IEDs).

Explosives trace detectors:  Security equipment able to detect explosives of small magnitude. Most explosive detector equipment on the market today can detect both vapors and particles of explosives.

TSA: The agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. The TSA is responsible for hiring and training the screeners who test for explosives and narcotics in airport checkpoints. Checkpoints represent one layer of security among the many in place to protect the various forms of transportation.

Consumables: Disposable supplies used in explosives, narcotics and chemical trace detectors. Trace detection equipment goes hand-in-hand with supporting consumables like swabs and other products.

Trap/swab: The actual material used to collect samples from potential trace particle locations. Swabs can be used on a piece of carry-on or checked baggage or a passenger’s hands and then placed inside the ETD unit to analyze it for the presence of potential explosive residue.

Calibration: Calibration introduces reference points to the explosive detection devices for substance detection and accounts for variations in temperature, pressure, and humidity. Most bomb detection equipment must go through calibration to insure accurate explosive detection.

Desorber: The desorber is the material collection location for the Morpho Detection Itemiser DX explosive and narcotics detector. Collected samples are inserted into the desorber where the chemical traces are analyzed and displayed on the touch screen.

Dual mode detection: Dual mode detection refers to the ability to detect both explosive and narcotic traces. Simultaneous detection enables the Itemiser DX to detect a broad range of bomb and drug residue.

Vapor tracer: The vapor tracer is a device that is able to switch between particle and vapor sampling for optimal detection of a wide range of substances. The vapor tracer is able to collect samples by particle swipe, vapor sampling and vacuum sampling.

Sensitivity: Sensitivity is defined as the lowest amount of explosive matter a detector can detect reliably.