Approved projects in the "Detection of hazardous substances" field

The joint projects presented in this section focus on the development of systems for detecting biological or chemical and explosive substances and the ways in which terahertz technology might be used to find weapons and hazardous substances. The research topics range from early detection of biological pathogens and other harmful contaminants (in drinking water supply systems, for instance) to detection of traces of explosives (during airport luggage checks, for example).

Detektion von Gefahrstoffen

Sauerlandpics /

This research is particularly interested in developing practical and portable systems for detecting toxic or explosive substances and in improving on-site analysis methods for examining suspicious items and checking for warfare agents. It also considers ethical, psychological and organisational questions relating to the use of new detection technologies.

Completed joint projects:

AquaBioTox: Online monitoring of drinking water based on a biological broad-spectrum sensor with automatic image evaluation

Schema des AquaBioTox-Sensorkonzeptes

Berliner Wasserbetriebe

Funding codes 13N9536 to 13N9538

Due to the risk of intentional or unintentional contamination to which water networks are exposed, the German regulations for drinking water (“Trinkwasserverordnung”) require routine inspections. However, the current analytical methods are lengthy and only cover a limited spectrum. The AquaBioTox project set out to develop a broad-spectrum sensor for monitoring drinking water. The principle behind the system is that highly sensitive biological microorganisms are exposed to drinking water taken from the main water current, then monitored continuously using a camera and evaluated automatically online.

More information  (only available in German)


ATLAS: Chip-based system for the detection of animal diseases

Feldeinsatz für das tragbare Labor.

Foto: Jan-Peter Kasper, dpa; Fotomontage: Wolfram Maginot, FLI

Funding codes 13N9518 to 13N9521

The aim of the project was to develop a new method with which to detect animal diseases quickly and reliably and thus to provide protection against such threats as agroterrorism.

More information  (only available in German)





BiGRUDI: Biological hazards: risk assessment, ultra high-speed detection and identification of bioterrorist agents

Funding codes 13N9591 to 13N9602

Risk assessment, ultra high-speed detection and identification of bioterrorist agents. The project developed a quick, easy-to-use diagnostic platform for assessing the risks posed by suspicious samples, embedded in a strategy for appropriate risk communication.

More information  (only available in German)

BioPROB: Fully automatic detection of biological hazardous substances with integrated sample purification for on-site use

Funding codes 13N9677 to 13N9680

The BioProb team devised a methodology and a demonstrator for an automatic analysis system for rapid identification of biological hazardous substances. The partners on the joint project hope to evolve the system further after the project to create a portable device for detecting biological hazardous substances in on-site applications.

More information  (only available in German)


ChipFlussPCR: Chip-based flow-through PCR system for complete mobile nucleic acid analysis of biological hazardous substance

Weniger ist mehr: das Labor zum Mitnehmen im Kreditkartenformat. Lab-on-a-Chip-Systeme für die ultraschnelle PCR.

microfluidic ChipShop GmbH

Funding codes 13N9556 to 13N9561

A system for detecting biological hazardous substances. The project aimed to create a portable lab-on-a-chip system for in-depth analysis of biological hazardous substances.

More information  (only available in German)





ChipSenSiTek: Chip-based photonic gas sensors for security application

Personenschleusen, in die die neuen Sensoren integriert werden können.

Kaba Gallenschütz GmbH

Funding codes 13N9474 to 13N9479

Gas sensor system for detecting explosives - The project objective was to invent a system for detecting explosives in access check scenarios at airports and in other buildings, e.g. financial or data centres.

More information  (only available in German)









DACHS: Detector array with chromatograph for identifying toxic substance

Entgleisung eines Güterzuges bei Hamburg mit Freisetzung von Chloressigsäure.

Feuerwehr Hamburg

Funding codes 13N9530 to 13N9532

Detector array for detecting toxic substances – The purpose of the project was to develop a detector system with which to enrich and analyse traces of gas for rapid on-site detection of hazardous substances.

More information  (only available in German)


EXAKT: Near real-time trace analysis of airborne chemical warfare agents and explosive

Identifikation von drei Kampfstoffsimulanzien in einem Luftgemisch mithilfe chemometrischer Auswertemethoden.

five technologies GmbH

Funding codes 13N9562 to 13N9566

Identification of chemical and explosive hazardous substances in the air – The research was designed to enable gas flows to be analysed quickly and precisely, in particular as a means of detecting chemical warfare agents and explosives in the air.

More information  (only available in German)




HANDHELD: Handheld terahertz spectrometer for the detection of explosive hazardous liquids

Handheld-THz-Spektrometer zur Detektion von Flüssiggefahrstoffen in verschlossenen Gefäßen.

MenloSystems GmbH

Funding codes 13N9513 to 13N9517

Portable device with which airport staff can detect hazardous substances – The primary intended use of the portable terahertz spectrometer is to detect explosive hazardous liquids.

More information  (only available in German)





HYGAS: Hyperspectral gas sensor: hyperspectral sensor for rapid, automatic remote detection of hazardous substances

Anzeige bei Identifikation einer Gefahrstoffwolke.

TU Hamburg-Harburg

Funding codes 13N9647 and 13N9648

The aim of this joint project was to create a hyperspectral sensor for remote detection of hazardous substances, which would enable hazardous substances to be identified and visualised automatically from a great distance. The intention behind the project was to facilitate reliable assessment of incidents and do away with time-consuming sampling procedures and analysis of the samples taken.

More information  (only available in German)

IRLDEX: Infrared laser-assisted imaging detection of explosive

Anzeige bei Identifikation einer Gefahrstoffwolke.

Fraunhofer IAF

Funding codes 13N9543 to 13N9546

Method for detecting explosives – The objective was to invent a method that could be used to examine IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

More information  (only available in German)








KRETA: Body scanners: Ethical reflections on technology and its implementation contexts

Gefährliche Gegenstände können durch Personenscanner leichter erkannt werden.

IZEW, University of Tübingen

Funding code 13N11453

Body scanners hold great potential as a means of detecting dangerous items, such as weapons or explosives concealed about people’s bodies. The goal of the KRETA project was to formulate criteria that will help restrict discriminating access controls, taking both the technical and the social aspects into account. The project’s findings were be made available to authorities, researchers, developers and the general public.

More information  (only available in German)


PathoSafe: Raman spectroscopy for the detection of security level 3 agroterrorist pathogen

Funding codes 13N9547 to 13N9551

Spectrometer for biological hazardous substances – The aim was to produce a device with which emergency services could detect biological hazardous substances quickly and easily.

More information (only available in German)

QPASS: Quick Personnel Automatic Safe Screening

Personenscanner tragen zum sichereren Flugverkehr bei.


Funding codes 13N11528 and 13N11529

The QPASS project set out to develop a demonstrator for a real-time, fully electronic, next-generation body scanner. It was the first time that different spectroscopy techniques were combined in order to support object identification and imaging using anonymised data.

More information  (only available in German)

SAFE INSIDE: Detection of security-relevant substances in places which are difficult to acces

Gefahrstoffdetektion durch endoskopische Probenahme und Nachweis mittels SPI-MS.

Optimare GmbH

Funding codes 13N9522 to 13N9529

Method for detecting hazardous substances in hollow spaces – The goal was to provide first responders with a fast, reliable detection system for difficult-to-reach places.

More information  (only available in German)



S.O.N.D.E.: Scenario-based emergency diagnostics system for field use

Funding codes 13N10113 to 13N10117

Recent decades have seen an increase in the risk posed to the world population by pathogens. International terrorist networks can exploit both the fears that fatal infectious diseases cause and the fatal impact of biological warfare agents (B agents). The ability to detecting infectious diseases even more quickly is crucial. The partners on the S.O.N.D.E. research project devised mobile, integrated and microsystem-based diagnostics systems with which to detect (new) pathogens and B agents. The new systems considerably reduce the effort required to detect such pathogens, which usually involves large equipment, specially trained staff and several hours of work.

More information  (only available in German)

TEKZAS: Terahertz real-time camera (two-dimensional) for security application

Funding codes 13N9296 to 13N9299 and 13N9467 to 13N9471

The objective behind the TEKZAS joint project was to develop a camera, based on terahertz technology, for detecting hidden and dangerous items during airport security checks.

More information  (only available in German)

TERAcam: Active, fully electronic, room-temperature, real-time terahertz camera for security applications

Funding codes 13N9300 to 13N9304

The goal of the TERACam joint project was to develop an active, fully electronic system for real-time detection of hazardous substances and weapons.

More information  (only available in German)


TeraTom: High-resolution terahertz tomography for security applications

Konzeptstudie: Checkpoint mit Zonen für die Nachuntersuchung.

Smiths Heimann GmbH

Funding codes 13N9293 to 13N99295

The research aimed at creating a shoe scanner.

More information  (only available in German)





THEBEN: Terahertz detection systems: ethical support, evaluation and standardization

Personenaufnahme mit Hilfe eines THz-Scanners.

Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)

Funding code 13N9054

Evaluation and standardisation of the new terahertz technology for security applications.

More information  (only available in German)








THz-Videocam: Passive THz video camera for security applications to detect hidden objects at great distances

Vergleich von Infrarot- (links) und THz-Aufnahmen (rechts) aus fünf Metern Distanz. Dabei liegt die THz-Bildaufnahmedauer bei nur zwei Sekunden.


Funding codes 13N9305 to 13N9310

The project objective was to develop a passive THz camera that, rather than having to expose items or people to direct radiation, only registered their natural THz radiation.

More information  (only available in German)







THz-Videocam-TWO: Demonstration of a wide-angle terahertz thermal image camera for access controls

Die passive THz-Technik ist eine zukunftsweisende Technologie  für die Erkennung von gefährlichen Gegenständen an Personen.

 IPTH Jena

Funding codes 13N12021 to 13N12025

The THz-Videocam-TWO project aimed to develop a body scanner that does not require an active source of THz radiation and can be used for demonstration purposes. This type of system utilises humans’ natural body heat, combined with highly sensitive sensors to measure that heat as thermal radiation. Any concealed dangerous items, such as knives or weapons, can thus be easily identified due to their lower heat emissions. Another advantage is that there are essentially no health concerns at all with this approach.

More information  (only available in German)