A large explosion of confiscated mortar rounds, grenades, guns and other explosive devices set up by Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians on Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, Dec. 31. The controlled blast, which contained more than 1,500 pounds of explosives, was set off at midnight as a way to ring in the New Year from Iraq.

After seeing a series of blasts and increasing terrorist activities, researchers have developed a new compound to detect explosives that will help in reducing blasts and will enable security persons to detect and diffuse the bomb on time. The new compound becomes luminous and shines brightly when it comes in contact with molecules of explosive floating in the air.

Scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have developed two compounds named TTH-C[4]P and TNDCF that turns fluorescent after coming in contact with the molecules of explosives.

Terrorists are becoming more active and they are designing better mechanisms to fool the security checks and cause havoc in the public. In addition, they target crowded places to cause maximum destruction. To counter those terrorists, security agencies are investing a lot in the research and developing mechanisms to detect bombs that too without causing much trouble to the public.

The new compounds can detect bombs with ease, says lead study author Steffen Bahring. He explained that the new compound will enable security staff to scan bags and check for explosives in the airport. Apparently, it will be the fastest and easiest way to detect explosives that will create very less discomfort to people.

This isn’t the first time that such fluorescent materials have been designed to detect the bombs. Previously, researchers have made few such attempts, but the compound became luminous in the presence of some other salts apart from explosives thus triggering a false alarm.

What’s striking about the new materials is that it triggers alarm and becomes luminous only in the presence of explosives like TNB and also in the presence of chlorine and fluorine based salt.

While explaining about the recipe of the compound, Bahring said that it took a lot of time in developing a chain of different weakly bonded molecules that could trigger alarm on certain conditions.

The study appeared in the Journal Chemistry.