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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Technology

Body ScannerTSA identifes emerging technologies in order to stay ahead of evolving threats. TSA uses state-of-the art technologies to effectively screen passengers, checked baggage and air cargo.

Passenger Screening

TSA uses a number of sophisticated technologies to conduct passenger screening at the security checkpoint including:

TSA currently uses millimeter wave advanced imaging technology to safely screen passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons and explosives, which may be concealed under clothing without physical contact. There are nearly 950 units deployed at about 340 airports nationwide. Most passengers have the opportunity to decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening. However, some passengers will not be able to opt out of AIT screening if their boarding pass indicates that they have been selected for enhanced scree ning.

Advanced technology X-ray is used to screen carry-on baggage for explosives and prohibited items at checkpoints.

TSA also uses explosives trace detection technology to screen passengers and their belongings for trace amounts of explosive residue. Offcers may swab a piece of carry-on or checked baggage or a passenger’s hands and then place the swab inside the detection unit to analyze it for the presence of potential explosive residue.

Bottled liquid scanners are used at airport checkpoints to differentiate liquid explosives from common, benign liquids and are used primarily to screen medically necessary liquids in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces.

Checked Baggage

Inline ScreeningExplosives trace detection technology is also used in the baggage screening environment, and in some airports it is coupled with the use of explosives detection systems. These units use sophisticated technology to screen each checked bag instantly for potential explosives and in some airports are networked together into an in-line baggage handling system, which streamlines the baggage screening process.

In-line baggage systems use automated explosives detection systems to quickly and effciently screen checked baggage EDS technology uses computed tomography imaging to quickly capture an image of a single bag to ensure it does not contain a threat item. These systems use a conveyor belt infrastructure to automatically screen, sort and track baggage. Multiple EDS machines are linked to a centralized control room and resolution rooms where security offcers resolve anomalies identifed by the system.

Air Cargo Screening

Air cargo is currently more secure than it has ever been with 100 percent of cargo on fights departing U.S. airports and 100 percent of identifed high risk international cargo undergoing screening. TSA regulates use of air cargo screening technologies through an approved technology list. Airlines and other TSA-certifed entities perform cargo screening activities and purchase their own screening technology from the list. All devices on the list have been tested, evaluated and qualifed by TSA.

Tel: 571-227-2829 / tsamedia@tsa.dhs.gov / visit tsa.gov