USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

AIT: How it Works

Traveler's Guide

Advanced Imaging Technology safely screens passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact to help TSA keep the traveling public safe.


TSA uses millimeter wave imaging technology.

Millimeter Wave Unit
Photo of a Millimeter Wave
Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the body to create the same generic image for all passengers.

AIT Screening Process

Before going through this technology, remove ALL items from pockets and certain accessories, including wallet, belt, bulky jewelry, money, keys, and cell phone. Removing all of these items will reduce the chances of needing additional screening after exiting the machine.

After everything is removed from pockets, passengers will be directed to walk into the imaging portal. Once inside, passengers will be asked to stand in a position and remain still for a few seconds while the technology creates an image of the passenger in real time.

Advanced Imaging Technology millimeter wave units use Automated Target Recognition which eliminates passenger-specific images. Instead, the software automatically detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person that will appear on a monitor attached to the unit.

Photo of Monitor Alarms.

Any potential threat items that are detected are indicated on a generic outline of a person.

ATR L-3 OK Screen Shot.

If no potential threat items are detected, an "OK" appears on the monitor with no outline.

The passenger then exits the opposite side of the portal and collects their belongings. The entire process takes less than one minute. To avoid the chance of leaving any personal items behind, passengers are encouraged to place them in their carry-on bag prior to entering the checkpoint.

Latest revision: 04 November 2014