Texas Tech Researchers Receive $1.2 Million from Office of Naval Research for Better Explosives Detection

Researchers hope to develop more effective detection systems for finding explosive material.

Four Texas Tech University professors recently received a four-year $1.2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop more effective detection systems for finding explosive material.

The grant funds a project titled “Resolving the Complexity of Hot Spots Caused by Weak Energy Concentration and Coupling in Composite Energetic Materials.”

“In layman’s terms, basically we’re trying to enhance detection for explosives,” said Louisa Hope-Weeks, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “The new technology can be used by the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and military applications.”

Recipients of the competitive grant also included Brandon Weeks, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering; Greg McKenna, a Horn Professor and holder of the John R. Bradford Chair in Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering; and Michelle Pantoya, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“We need better, more enhanced sensitivity to keep up with what’s out there,” Weeks said. “Things are changing around the world. The problem now is they’re making homemade explosives that current sensors can’t find.”