Tracense Develops New Explosive Detector

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Scientists at Tracense, a technology company in Tel Aviv, Israel, created a new nanotechnology explosive detector. Tracense CEO Richard Osiroff says the apparatus can detect even the smallest explosive material.1 According to the Counter IED Report, the new device has an electronic chip that detects airborne traces of explosives at concentrations as low as several molecules per quadrillion.2

A team of researchers, directed by Professor Fernando Patolsky of the chemistry department at Tel Aviv University and its Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, helped develop the nanosensing technology.3 Capable of detecting specific smells, the detector is built with a system of receptors that detect explosive chemicals by observing how molecules bind to each receptor.1

With its high level of accuracy and sensitivity, this laptop-size portable detector can instantly pick up chemical traces of explosives in devices that stronger chemicals would otherwise hide.3 Patolsky says his team is working on making the technology the size of a mobile phone.4 Current methods of detection can be bulky, tedious to prepare and may only detect a few types of explosives.5

Since its creation, the detector found TNT, cyclonite and octogen, as well as peroxide-based explosives such as acetone peroxide and hexamethylene triperoxidediamine, illustrating its ability to detect military and commercial explosives as well as homemade devices.2

Trancense is working to develop more sensors to meet growing needs of public safety, security and threat
detection. c

~ Julie Hirschhorn, CISR staff

Contact Information

Center for International Stabilization & Recovery
James Madison University
800 S. Main Street, MSC 1028
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 / USA
Tel: +1 540 568 2718



  1. Shamah, David. “Israeli nano-tech innovation can ‘smell’ bombs.” The Times of Israel, 27 June 2014.
  2. “Israeli scientists develop nano-tech explosive detector.” Counter-IED Report. 25 June 2014.
  3. “Nanotech ‘Nose’ Sniffs Out Bombs From Five Metres Away.” International Business Times. 2 July 2014.
  4. “TAU nano-sensor could identify explosives 3,000 times more accurately than a dog’s nose.” Jerusalem Post. 30 June 2014.
  5. “New chip uses nano-sensor to detect even smallest traces of explosives.” Tech Times. 25 June 2014.