Narrator: This is Science Today. Technology that was originally developed to check the quality of wine by a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, has caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They're looking to develop a magnetic resonance scanner that could be placed in airports to check bottled liquids without having to open them.
Augustine: Never in my wildest dreams did this ever cross my mind that we would be doing Homeland Security work.
Narrator: Matthew Augustine originally invented the technology to check for spoilage of wine without opening bottles, but after a thwarted terrorist attack involving liquids, Augustine began to wonder if his technique could be used for more than just bad wine. Now, a prototype of a machine to check bottles and cans for explosives is being built in Augustine's lab.
Augustine: We just take our sample,
we put it down inside of this magnet, and also inside the magnet, there's a
radiofrequency coil, we bathe the sample in radio waves and after 15, 20 seconds we hope that we're going to be able to detect threat liquids.
Narrator: For Science today, I'm Larissa Branin.