Spinach plant can be used to detect bombs

BBC:
Scientists have transformed the humble spinach plant into a bomb detector.

By embedding tiny tubes in the plants' leaves, they can be made to pick up chemicals called nitro-aromatics, which are found in landmines and buried munitions.

Real-time information can then be wirelessly relayed to a handheld device.

The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) work is published in the journal Nature Materials.

The scientists implanted nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes (tiny cylinders of carbon) into the leaves of the spinach plant. It takes about 10 minutes for the spinach to take up the water into the leaves.

To read the signal, the researchers shine a laser onto the leaf, prompting the embedded nanotubes to emit near-infrared fluorescent light.

This can be detected with a small infrared camera connected to a small, cheap Raspberry Pi computer. The signal can also be detected with a smartphone by removing the infrared filter most have.
...
That is interesting science. Now they also need to figure out a way to use it against human bomb attacks.  Perhaps they can offer the bomber a salad.

Seriously, this looks like a real breakthrough in detecting land mines and IED's.

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