Special Issue "Challenges in New Technologies for Security"

A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Antonio Palucci

Head of Diagnostics and Metrology Laboratory, FSN-TECFIS-DIM ENEA CR Frascati, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: laser diagnostics; sensors; laser spectroscopy techniques; Raman spectroscopy; LIBS; explosive detection; environmental atmospheric and marine monitoring; cultural heritage health status and 3D release
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Saverio Romolo

Legal Medicine Section-SAIMLAL Department, SAPIENZA University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena, 336, 00161 Roma, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: explosives; firearms; drugs of abuse; detection; forensic identification; analytical chemistry; data fusion; forensic science; security

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 We are living times when almost every day are reported news of dramatic terrorist attacks, carried out by extremist groups, causing human losses and injuries to critical infrastructures. These threats are not localized in a specific geographical area but can be carried out anywhere, affecting a contest not ready to be resilient to these events. To this respect, technology plays a fundamental role in both aspects: detection and deterrence. Until 9/11 event, the development of technologies for civilian security was mainly limited to military industries. Since the collapse of the World Trade Center, policy makers worldwide it was clear the need and the relevance to develop new technologies specifically developed to protect the human and social life as civil applications. New sensors play nowadays a key role in these new technologies: international organization have fostered the development of new or more sensitive detection systems to provide in the future safer everyday lives.

Security is therefore not only a challenging issue for police or military forces, but also for scientists. They can be involved in increasing the detection capability of their own sensor, in proposing new approaches to monitor emerging threats, in studying the best scenarios to develop the most effective solutions based on their forensic knowledge or in providing all the technologies needed to exchange data and to allow proper interpretation of sensors’ results.

The security from terrorists’ attacks is an interdisciplinary challenge deserving the special issue we are proposing.

Therefore, we kindly ask to the contributors to disentangle the listed challenges to contribute to this special issue:

  • Emerging new threats:
  • from precursors to biohazards
  • the traditional materials are still a serious threat?
  • are there possibilities to have mixed threats?
  • Detection of energetic materials: from precursors to explosive materials
  • this topic includes all the spectroscopic techniques (any radiation wavelength range can be included from muons to THz),
  • close, proximal or stand-off detection.
  • Forensic knowledge and security.
  • Video surveillance is only a recording of the people faces or can we extract more information?
  • Only one technology can solve the issue or we need a more integrated approach?
  • Ethical and juridical issues:
  • the technology is ready to be accepted from the social community?
  • how to become resilient?
  • The cost and the timeline to release the technologies in the market: the role of the industries.
  • What we missed to consider the threat?
  • Future of security.

Dr. Antonio Palucci
Dr. Francesco Saverio Romolo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Challenges is an international peer-reviewed open access biannual journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Electrochemical Sensor for Explosives Precursors’ Detection in Water
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/challe8010010
Received: 9 February 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
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Abstract
Although all countries are intensifying their efforts against terrorism and increasing their mutual cooperation, terrorist bombing is still one of the greatest threats to society. The discovery of hidden bomb factories is of primary importance in the prevention of terrorism activities. Criminals preparing
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Although all countries are intensifying their efforts against terrorism and increasing their mutual cooperation, terrorist bombing is still one of the greatest threats to society. The discovery of hidden bomb factories is of primary importance in the prevention of terrorism activities. Criminals preparing improvised explosives (IE) use chemical substances called precursors. These compounds are released in the air and in the waste water during IE production. Tracking sources of precursors by analyzing air or wastewater can then be an important clue for bomb factories’ localization. We are reporting here a new multiplex electrochemical sensor dedicated to the on-site simultaneous detection of three explosive precursors, potentially used for improvised explosive device preparation (hereafter referenced as B01, B08, and B15, for security disclosure reasons and to avoid being detrimental to the security of the counter-explosive EU action). The electrochemical sensors were designed to be disposable and to combine ease of use and portability in a screen-printed eight-electrochemical cell array format. The working electrodes were modified with different electrodeposited metals: gold, palladium, and platinum. These different coatings giving selectivity to the multi-sensor through a “fingerprint”-like signal subsequently analyzed using partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). Results are given regarding the detection of the three compounds in a real environment and in the presence of potentially interfering species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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Open AccessArticle Expert System for Bomb Factory Detection by Networks of Advance Sensors
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 1; doi:10.3390/challe8010001
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 3 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3530 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: Police forces and security administrations are nowadays considering Improvised explosives (IEs) as a major threat. The chemical substances used to prepare IEs are called precursors, and their presence could allow police forces to locate a bomb factory where the on-going manufacturing
[...] Read more.
(1) Background: Police forces and security administrations are nowadays considering Improvised explosives (IEs) as a major threat. The chemical substances used to prepare IEs are called precursors, and their presence could allow police forces to locate a bomb factory where the on-going manufacturing of IEs is carried out. (2) Methods: An expert system was developed and tested in handling signals from a network of sensors, allowing an early warning. The expert system allows the detection of one precursor based on the signal provided by a single sensor, the detection of one precursor based on the signal provided by more than one sensor, and the production of a global alarm level based on data fusion from all the sensors of the network. (3) Results: The expert system was tested in the Italian Air Force base of Pratica di Mare (Italy) and in the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in Grindsjön (Sweden). (4) Conclusion: The performance of the expert system was successfully evaluated under relevant environmental conditions. The approach used in the development of the expert system allows maximum flexibility in terms of integration of the response provided by any sensor, allowing to easily include in the network all possible new sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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Open AccessArticle Early Warning of Biological Threats via Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy: A Case Study of Bacillus Spores
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 24; doi:10.3390/challe7020024
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 20 December 2016
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Abstract
A study on the application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in detecting biological threats is here reported. Simulants of deadly Bacillus anthracis endospores were used. This study proposes an automated device where SERS is used as a fast, pre-alarm technique of a two-stage
[...] Read more.
A study on the application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in detecting biological threats is here reported. Simulants of deadly Bacillus anthracis endospores were used. This study proposes an automated device where SERS is used as a fast, pre-alarm technique of a two-stage sensor equipped with a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In order to check the potentialities of SERS in terms of sensitivity and specificity for on-site, real-time, automatic detection and identification of biological agents, two strains of genetically and harmless closely B. anthracis-related spores, Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus atrophaeus, were used as simulants. In order to assure the selectivity of the SERS substrate against B. thuringiensis spores, the substrate was functionalized by specific peptides. The obtained SERS measurements are classified as positive or negative hits by applying a special data evaluation based on the Euclidian distance between each spectrum and a reference spectrum of blank measurement. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied for discriminating between different strains representing dangerous and harmless spores. The results show that the SERS sensor is capable of detecting a few tenths of spores in a few minutes, and is particularly sensitive and fast for this purpose. Post-process analysis of the spectra allowed for discrimination between the contaminated and uncontaminated SERS sensors and even between different strains of spores, although not as clearly. For this purpose, the use of a non-functionalized SERS substrate is suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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Open AccessArticle Stand-Off Device for Plastic Debris Recognition in Post-Blast Scenarios
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 23; doi:10.3390/challe7020023
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 December 2016 / Published: 15 December 2016
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Abstract
The fast analysis of crime scenes is a very critical issue for investigators that should collect, as much as possible, all and only meaningful evidence, and rapidly bring back to normality the involved area. With the scope to respond to the end user’s
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The fast analysis of crime scenes is a very critical issue for investigators that should collect, as much as possible, all and only meaningful evidence, and rapidly bring back to normality the involved area. With the scope to respond to the end user’s requirements, the project FORLAB (Forensic Laboratory for in-situ evidence analysis in a post blast scenario) has set, as its main goal, to develop a system of sensors for fast screening of post-blast scenes. In this frame, a new sensor based on laser induced fluorescence has been developed for standoff individuation and localization of plastic debris in post-blast scenarios. The system can scan large areas in short times (in some cases, minutes) providing real-time images of the scene where material discrimination is highlighted. In fact, the combined use of a laser source with a high repetition rate and of a signal collection setup based on a fixed intensified charged coupled device (ICCD) with a large field of view has allowed for the brief duration of the scanning process. In addition, dedicated software elaborates the fluorescence data obtained from the targets and retrieves a chemical characterization useful for material recognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Field Prototype of the ENEA Neutron Active Interrogation Device for the Detection of Dirty Bombs
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 17; doi:10.3390/challe7020017
Received: 14 June 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 October 2016 / Published: 19 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) Neutron Active Interrogation (NAI) device is a tool designed to improve CBRNE defense. It is designed to uncover radioactive and nuclear threats including those in the form of Improvised Explosive
[...] Read more.
The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) Neutron Active Interrogation (NAI) device is a tool designed to improve CBRNE defense. It is designed to uncover radioactive and nuclear threats including those in the form of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the so-called “dirty bombs”. The NAI device, at its current development stage, allows to detect 6 g of 235U hidden in a package. It is easily transportable, light in weight, and with a real-time response. Its working principle is based on two stages: (1) an “active” stage in which neutrons are emitted by a neutron generator to interact with the item under inspection, and (2) a “passive” stage in which secondary neutrons are detected originating a signal that, once processed, allows recognition of the offence. In particular, a clear indication of the potential threat is obtained by a dedicated software based on the Differential Die-Away Time Analysis method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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Open AccessArticle Validation of a Miniaturized Spectrometer for Trace Detection of Explosives by Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 14; doi:10.3390/challe7020014
Received: 7 June 2016 / Revised: 8 August 2016 / Accepted: 10 August 2016 / Published: 19 August 2016
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Abstract
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) measurements of some common military explosives were performed with a table-top micro-Raman system integrated with a Serstech R785 miniaturized device, comprising a spectrometer and detector for near-infrared (NIR) laser excitation (785 nm). R785 was tested as the main component
[...] Read more.
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) measurements of some common military explosives were performed with a table-top micro-Raman system integrated with a Serstech R785 miniaturized device, comprising a spectrometer and detector for near-infrared (NIR) laser excitation (785 nm). R785 was tested as the main component of a miniaturized SERS detector, designed for in situ and stand-alone sensing of molecules released at low concentrations, as could happen in the case of traces of explosives found in an illegal bomb factory, where solid microparticles of explosives could be released in the air and then collected on the sensor’s surface, if placed near the factory, as a consequence of bomb preparation. SERS spectra were obtained, exciting samples in picogram quantities on specific substrates, starting from standard commercial solutions. The main vibrational features of each substance were clearly identified also in low quantities. The amount of the sampled substance was determined through the analysis of scanning electron microscope images, while the spectral resolution and the detector sensitivity were sufficiently high to clearly distinguish spectra belonging to different samples with an exposure time of 10 s. A principal component analysis procedure was applied to the experimental data to understand which are the main factors affecting spectra variation across different samples. The score plots for the first three principal components show that the examined explosive materials can be clearly classified on the basis of their SERS spectra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in New Technologies for Security)
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