Safety and security research

The detection and characterization of chemical weapons and explosives is a key element of safety and security research at Fraunhofer ICT. Additional research areas include fire and flame protection, gas generators and rapid rescue systems and the evaluation of detection systems such as airport scanners in the Test Center for Explosives Detection Systems. Our work contributes to national and international collaborative projects (EVADEX, EDEN, HECTOS, XP-DITE) and includes the harmonization and standardization of detection systems, and the design of safety checkpoints for airports.

Detection of explosives

Many recent terrorist attacks have been carried out using explosives. Preventative measures such as the early detection of explosives are therefore extremely important. In order to detect the smallest possible traces of explosives both in the gas phase and on surfaces, highly-sensitive detection techniques are necessary. To detect the smallest possible traces in the gas phase or on surfaces, detection systems based on nanoporous materials are developed, for example to concentrate explosives or hazardous substances from the gas phase, and increase the selectivity and sensitivity of detection systems.

Sensors need to be rapid and specific, to detect a variety of substances and reliably identify threats. In addition, no individual sensor can currently cover all explosives and scenarios: multiple sensors must therefore be applied. The selection of suitable detection methods and sensors for different scenarios requires a standardized test, which allows direct comparison of the performance of different systems, independent of the institution performing the tests or the place where they are carried out. Important parameters for such tests include a clearly-defined testing methodology, a pre-defined assessment and evaluation system as well as a standardized set of real testing samples.

The detection systems must be evaluated with reference to their detection limits, breadth of application, false alarm rate and suitability of use. The main goal at Fraunhofer ICT is the development of evaluation methods for detection systems, which can be used as a basis for future certification activities. Even though the performance of detection systems has improved significantly in recent years, there is still a demand for technical solutions to detect hidden explosive charges, such as those used by suicide bombers, at an early stage and from a greater distance. Initial research results are still a long way away from practical application. Global research in this sector therefore continues apace. In the heavily regulated aviation security sector, established scenario-based test routines are available to evaluate a wide range of detection systems. For other scenarios, such as security controls at large events, these test routines have not yet been developed.

EVADEX: Methods for the standardized evaluation of measuring systems for traces of explosives

The last few years have seen a global increase in attacks using explosives. The use of improved trace detection methods can prevent explosions and save human lives. As yet no recognized certification or standardization methods exist for the established detection methods. In the project EVADEX an evaluation method will be developed for the direct comparison of trace detection systems according to a fixed standard. As the use of sniffer dogs is an established approach and well-suited to particular application scenarios, the project will start by investigating sniffer dogs ability to smell. On this basis, scientific operation guidelines will be developed, and the project results will later be integrated into a DIN specification. The new guidelines and knowledge of the performance profile will enable police tasks forces to select verified detection systems for specific applications. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) within the project "Research for civil security". The project partners are the German Federal Police Technology Center in Lübeck, GeSiM mbH, Grosserkmannsdorf, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) in Berlin, the University of Freiburg, the Centre for Security and Society in Freiburg and the IAS GmbH in Frankfurt.

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EDEN – End-user driven Demo for CBRNe

 Besides attacks using explosives, CBRN (formerly known as ABC) accidents or attacks are increasingly important security scenarios. Chemical weapons or toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), together with biological (B) and radio nuclear (R,N) chemicals pose a high potential threat to people who come into contact with them. In the EU project (FP7) EDEN, more than 30 partners from 15 countries are working together to increase cooperation in this area and to pool, combine and document competences. The aim is to create EDENstore, which offers an EU-wide overview of different tools (e.g. software relating to the spread of hazardous substances, detection systems and possible regulations for crisis management) and a network of experts. This project started on 1st September 2013 and is planned to finish in 2016.

HECTOS, Harmonized Evaluation, Certification and Testing of Security Products

Current systems and units designed to ensure physical security vary significantly in terms of technologies, operation scenarios, application fields and performance. It is difficult to compare the performance, precision, operation, reliability and functionality even of similar products. Few certification processes are available that are recognized equally in different EU states. The result is a fragmentation of the European market, which results in negative consequences for both the manufacturers and the users.

HECTOS investigates whether (and to what extent) existing evaluation and certification processes from other sectors can be used and further developed, in order to establish a general approach to the evaluation and certification of products that ensure the physical security of the population and infrastructure. One objective is an independent, scientifically sound and statistically reliable evaluation of the performance. The practical viability of this general approach will be investigated experimentally using two case studies. The investigations will focus on detection systems for weapons and explosives, and biometric recognition systems.

The project is funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the EU (Call: FP7-SEC-2013-1: SEC-2013.5.4-1: Evaluation and certification schemes for security products – Capability Project). The project will run for three years, ending on 31.08.2017. Project partners: FOI (Sweden, Project Coordinator), Fraunhofer IGD and DIN (Germany), Morpho (France), Iconal, University of Warwick, NPL (UK) and TNO (Netherlands).  

XP-DITE, Accelerated Checkpoint Design Integration Test and Evaluation

The main objective of XP-DITE is to develop, demonstrate and validate a comprehensive, passenger-centred approach to the design and evaluation of integrated security checkpoints (CPs) in airports. The approach incorporates multiple requirements directly related to security, airport operations and sociological aspects. In addition, an ethical framework is being defined which enables the proactive introduction of new ethical measures / factors into checkpoints by designers and operators. The consortium will identify and develop requirement criteria which enable the description and quantification of check points as part of an integrated system. A key element here is the development of a tool enabling the design of new, innovative checkpoints and also the modification of existing ones, e.g. according to changing requirement profiles in response to new threats. The challenge lies in the development of a validated set of protocols and tools to record the performance of a checkpoint as an entire system, rather the current classification of the individual components. The project results will be demonstrated in the context of two integrated checkpoints at two European airports. The approach targets the aviation security sector, but could be extended to other transport sectors or additional applications.

The project will run for five years, ending in March 2017. Fraunhofer ICT's project partners are: TNO (NL, Coordinator), Fraunhofer EMI (GE), FOI (SW), CASRA (CH), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (NL), Shannon Airport (IRL), Morpho (FR), Smiths Detection (GE), Avsec (FR), Iconal (UK), Cascade Technologies (UK), and the University of Freiburg (GE).