Physics

Air Travel an Overview on Backscatter x Ray Technology



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The introduction of Backscatter X-ray Machines has certainly caused a load of controversy world-wide. These were specifically designed with airport security in mind. Unfortunately in this day and age with terrorist attacks at the forefront of international security focus, many feel there is definitely a need for an X-ray machines which can see what a person truly has on their person. The Backscatter X-ray machine basically penetrates a person’s clothing giving a clear view of the body beneath, in fact those viewing the x-rays will see you in an almost naked form. Although many people wish to veto the Backscatter X-ray machines as a type of intrusion on their privacy, one needs to look at the other side of the debate.

The Backscatter X-ray machines don’t just show the body, they also show up any contrabands which someone could be attempting to conceal from security officers, customs agents and so forth. These contrabands can be in the form of drugs, knives, liquid explosives and so forth which could have passed through metal detectors undetected. The Backscatter X-ray machines provide photo-quality views of the person it is scanning. The Backscatter X-ray machine basically works as this. The machine transmits what is called an x-ray beam at the subject. This is really a high-energy burst of photons ( light particles.) The x-ray then penetrates the subject’s clothing and beneath their skin which then captures a picture on x-ray film which is placed on the opposite side of the said person. Now the x-rays will pass through the subject, perhaps be absorbed by it or scatter out upon impact. This will depend on the density and atomic properties of the particular item/object.

There are three detectors within the x-ray machine, one of these will capture the image which is created by low and high energy absorption of the photons. Another will filter out and low energy images and the last detector will pick up the high energy and pass right through the energy particles. So what happens next? After this all takes place, the computer will compare the images from the first and third detectors. It will the provide a colour coded very clear image of the assorted materials on the person being scanned. Unfortunately any organic materials which are said to be low density, will often scatter the x-ray particles.

A backscatter X-ray machines created and captures images when objects such as materials and organics, scatter the X-ray photons. Because a Backscatter X-ray machine created photo quality images, one can basically peruse the images quickly and pick up on anything which is unusual. In comparison to normal x-ray machines which are often blurry, the Backscatter X-ray machines are a fart more advanced machine. The machine’s ability to basically strip away all clothing when in use is the main reason people have privacy concerns. A host of civil liberty groups and the public, are up in arms about these machine. They fear that security people will be privy to having a free peep show of all airline passengers. Many see this as a blatant invasion of privacy. The issue not yet resolved so the Backscatter - X-ray machines are simply being used for scanning luggage and other items at the moment. Technology is wonderful, but has it gone too far this time?

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