A new laser scanner may make it possible to once again bring liquids in large containers through airport security. Called the INSIGHT100, the scanner can identify the liquid in a variety of different containers by simply scanning them.
The scanner uses Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, or SORS. A bottle of liquid up to 3 liters in size is placed in a microwave oven-sized box, and then has near-infrared lasers shined on it from a variety of different angles. Some light is reflected back from the liquid into the scanner and then it measures the wavelength of that light and uses that measurement to identify what liquid it is looking at.
The whole process takes around 5 seconds to complete, and the INSIGHT100 has proven to be accurate 99.5% of the time. The scanner can handle liquids through clear, colored, and even opaque plastic containers and can even be adjusted for partially-filled containers.