Scientists say laser beams that vibrate molecules can help detect improvised explosive devices.
Each molecule vibrates at a unique frequency.
So when scanning the ground from a safe distance, the laser can "sense" the bomb.
Michigan State University team's job is another attempt to curb roadside bomb deaths in places like Afghanistan.
The study was published in the journal Applied Physics Express.
More than half of coalition soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were caused by improvised explosive devices or improvised explosive devices.
Dr. Marcos Dantes, the main developer of laser sensors, said detecting improvised explosive devices has been a challenge because chemical compounds present in the environment mask the molecules of the bomb.
"Molecular structure sensitivity is critical for identifying explosives and avoiding unnecessary evacuation of buildings and road closures due to false positives," he said . ".
The invention uses a laser beam to detect the chemical composition of an object at a certain distance from the laser.
The beam combines short pulses, these short pulses "kick" molecules, making them vibrate with longer pulses.
Dr. Dantus said: "The lasers and methods we developed were originally used for microscopy, but we were able to adapt and expand its scope of use to demonstrate its effectiveness in the detection of explosives in confrontation.
The researchers said that due to the sensitivity of the project, he could not describe in detail the technology behind the invention.
"I can't give you more specific implementation information," he told BBC News . ".
"All we have to say is that it can detect explosives from a stand --off distance.
"To help detect roadside bombs safely, many different devices and technologies have been developed.
A British scientist, Dr. Graham Turnbull of the University of St. Andrew, who has done a lot of research in this area, told the BBC that the latest research is an exciting step in the direction of standing.
Detection of explosives
Although still in the stage of exploration.
"This work shows that a kind of coherent-
It can be used for Stokes Raman spectra of high spectra.
"No explosives were found," he said . ".
Researchers have shown that their technology is sensitive.
They can detect low concentrations of explosives at a distance of 1 m, several million parts per square centimeter.
"They also show that it is highly selective and can even tell very similar explosive molecules --
This can be important in complex environments, such as airports, where there may be innocent material that can bring false positives to other positions
Detection technology. "In mid-
2010, Dr. Turnbull and his team developed laser technology to be able to perceive hidden explosives by "pumping" a plastic called polyfluene with photons from another light source.
They found that the laser reacted with the steam in explosives such as TNT.
Dr. Turnbull suggested putting this laser on a robot, perhaps remote-controlled, which could "sniff" in the mine field and look for a steam cloud.
"On a dusty road in Afghanistan, there may be relatively few things that will give you false positives, and there must be potential in this area," Dr. Turnbull said . ".
"In essence, it is to make an artificial nose for a robot dog.