Apparently the possibility of bomb-detecting lasers at security checkpoints is now within reach.

According to Michigan State University Researchers.

In the current issue of Applied Physics Letters, Marcos Dantus, MSU chemistry professor and founder of BioPhotonic Solutions, has developed a laser that can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage.

He says the laser uses a single beam and requires no spectrometers, is quite practical and could scan many people and their belongings quickly. Not only does it detect the explosive material, but it also provides an image of the chemical’s exact location, even if it’s merely a minute trace on a zipper, according to Dantus.

It doesn’t mean that security forces will be armed with handheld laser in airports, however. He says this laser would more likely be in a conveyor belt, like the X-ray scanners already used for airport security.

And the low-energy laser is safe to use on luggage as well as passengers. For decades, scientists have been working to develop lasers that are powerful enough for detection, but safe enough to use on people.