Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

"Development of a Common Sensor Platform for the Detection of IED ""Bomb Factories"""

Article Category

Article available in the following languages:

Detecting homemade bombs

An EU project developed chemical and radiation sensors, for deployment throughout cities, which detect the components of bombs. The sensors are connected wirelessly, and novel processing algorithms allow the system to learn.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

With a growing number of threats to the security of European citizens, authorities need the ability to detect a greater variety of dangerous devices. One suggestion is city-wide deployment of a network of wireless sensors that detect the signature traces of bombs. Current sensors are inadequate and unreliable. Hence, the EU-funded project 'Development of a common sensor platform for the detection of IED "bomb factories"' (COMMONSENSE) planned improvements. The eight-member consortium worked to develop the necessary network, using novel sensor materials, communication technologies and data-processing algorithms. The network was designed to enable detection of airborne and waterborne chemical signatures of bomb production, and of chemicals potentially able to mask the targets. The system also includes radiation detectors, for location of 'dirty bombs'. The project operated for three years to the end of 2013. COMMONSENSE developed two sensitive sensor types. The nanoelectrochemical sensors detect powerful nitrous explosives, while fluorescence-based optical 'turn-off' sensors detect gas residues of TNT. A radiation sensor was produced that achieved high sensitivity and a low-error rate. In addition, the consortium developed various modules for an integrated housing for the sensors. The components were united in a wireless communication network based on several international standards. The application was successfully tested and demonstrated. The team also developed chemometric processing algorithms that 'learn' to better resolve target chemicals while ignoring others. Project activities included the construction of special facilities for sensor validation and a testing site. The COMMONSENSE project developed sensor technologies that will autonomously detect various bomb components. The upshot is increased safety for citizens, without invasive surveillance, and opportunities for European business.


Bombs, radiation sensors, wireless sensors, sensor platform, bomb factories

Discover other articles in the same domain of application