Detecting Electronic Initiators Using Electromagnetic Emissions

Detecting Electronic Initiators Using Electromagnetic Emissions

Colin Stagner (Missouri S&T, USA), Sarah Seguin (University of Kansas, USA), Steve Grant (Missouri S&T, USA) and Daryl Beetner (Missouri S&T, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5946-9.ch004

Abstract

The accurate and timely discovery of radio receivers can assist in the detection of radio-controlled explosives. By detecting radio receivers, it is possible to indirectly infer the presence of an explosive device. Radio receivers unintentionally emit low-power radio signals during normal operation. By using a weak stimulation signal, it is possible to inject a known signal into these unintended emissions. This process is known as stimulated emissions. Unlike chemical traces, these stimulated emissions can propagate through walls and air-tight containers. The following case study discusses methods for detecting and locating two different types of radio receivers. Functional stimulated emissions detectors are constructed, and their performance is analyzed. Stimulated emissions are capable of detecting super-regenerative receivers at distances of at least one hundred meters and accurately locating superheterodyne receivers at distances of at least fifty meters. These results demonstrate a novel technique for detecting potential explosive threats at stand-off detection distances.
Chapter Preview
Top

Case Description

Explosive devices typically contain at least three components: propellant, a payload, and an initiator. Each of these components provides a different opportunity to detect the device. Although the first two components are the most specific indication that explosives are present, another way to detect potential explosive devices is to detect the initiator. Explosive devices are commonly initiated using proximity sensors or remote triggers (Wilson, 2006; Griffith, 2007). Such initiators generate electrical signals which can radiate into the environment as electromagnetic emissions. By detecting potential initiators, it is possible to indirectly infer the presence of an explosive device.

The purpose of this work is to improve techniques for detecting specific types of electronic initiators. Radio receivers of every variety, such as doorbells, automobile key fobs, two-way radios, and cellular telephones, have been used by insurgents as remote initiators (Smith & Coderre, 2008). For example, the devices used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings contained parts from a remote-control car (Chuchmach, 2013). These radio receivers unintentionally radiate low-power radio signals during normal operation. By using a weak stimulation signal, it is possible to inject a known signal into these unintended emissions. This technique has proven to be effective at detecting super-regenerative (Seguin, 2009a) and superheterodyne (Stagner, Conrad, Osterwise, Beetner, & Grant, 2011) radio receivers. The following sections detail the research and development process of an improved radio-receiver detector.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset