Narrator: This is Science Today. A disposable, quick and easy-to-use explosives detector currently being used commercially was developed by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It's called the Easy Livermore Inspection Test for Explosives, or ELITE. Chemist Peter Nunes, who helped develop the ELITE, says it's a portable, color metric test for explosives.
Nunes: By color metric, we mean that the end user is going to look for a color change. So, very simply, all he does is he takes the swipe material, he swipes his surface of interest, puts it back into the ELITE and exposes it to a chemical by breaking this tiny ampoule . And if the user gets color change, that says that there's an explosive there.
Narrator: The ELITE can detect about thirty different explosives and unlike other technology used, it's very inexpensive, portable and does not require training.
Nunes: There was a need to have explosives detection in the hands of large amounts of people, whether they be police officers or soldiers in the field.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.