TSA checkpoint at Trenton-Mercer Airport now equipped with new state-of-the-art 3-D checkpoint scanners to improve explosives detection

Local Press Release
Monday, April 10, 2023

TRENTON, N.J. – Two new state-of-the-art advanced technology computed tomography (CT) scanners that provide 3-D imaging have been installed at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Trenton-Mercer Airport, providing critical explosives detection capabilities for screening carry-on items.

“TSA remains committed to getting the best technology to enhance security and improve the screening experience,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey, shortly before TSA officers cut a bright blue ribbon to commemorate the addition of the new units at the airport. “Our officers’ use of CT technology substantially improves our threat detection capability at the checkpoint. Previously, our screening technology for carry-on bags used 2-D images. The CT technology applies advanced algorithms for the detection of explosives, including liquid explosives and other threat items.”

One of the two new computed tomography units that have recently been installed at Trenton-Mercer Airport. (TSA photo)
One of the two new computed tomography units that have recently been installed at Trenton-Mercer Airport. (TSA photo)

The system applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives by creating a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated 360 degrees on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a transportation security officer. This new technology creates such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to provide TSA officers with the three-dimensional views of the contents of a carry-on bag.

It takes a few extra seconds for the TSA officer to view the image and rotate it to get a better understanding of its contents, however in most instances, rotating the image allows the TSA officer to identify an item inside the bag and clear it without a need to open it for inspection. Checkpoint CT technology should result in fewer bag checks. However, if a bag requires further screening, a transportation security officer will inspect it to ensure that a threat item is not contained inside.

CT units have a slightly smaller entry tunnel and not all larger carry-on bags will fit into the units. TSA recommends that large carry-on items be checked with the airline.

Passengers using these machines at Trenton will be permitted to leave their laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags.