So, you're standing in the security line at the airport when you realize that bottle of duty-free Jameson is still in your bag. Also, you just cracked the seal on some not-so-easily-chuggable Kombucha. And that priced-gouged bottle of sunscreen you bought in Tulum? It was almost $10 and it's still nearly full.

Normally, these liquid-filled bottles would need to be surrendered to the trash can held by a smirking TSA agent. But have no fear frequent fliers, new screening methods may soon be clear for take off.

British company Cobalt Light Systems says they've developed a scanning machine that could put an end to those pesky restrictions that ban liquids in carry-on luggage.


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Cobalt says their Insight 100 machine could analyze bottles as big as three liters for explosives and do it in less than five seconds. Here's how:

Bottles are placed inside what looks like a microwave oven, however this machine is no warmer of leftovers. Rather, a laser is shined into the bottle to chemically analyze its contents with a technique known as Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS). Energy levels in the liquid molecules are able to shift the wavelength of the laser light. From these small shifts, bottle contents can be determined.

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Colbalt says the the Insight 100 exceeded the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) standard for use in airports with nearly perfect detection results and few false positives.

"We have worked incredibly hard over the last couple of years to refine the SORS technology and bring the Insight 100 to market," Cobalt's CEO, Paul Loeffen said in a press release. "It is a great achievement to have exceeded the European standards at this stage so that we are in a prime position to supply this unique bottle screener to European airports."

Don't live or frequently travel to Europe? Better double check what's in your bag.

[Via New Scientist]

Credit: Cobalt Light Systems