Three-dimensional imaging (holographic) and scanning technologies improve hands-off detection.

The events of September 11, 2001, made us recognize that the United States is vulnerable to new threats to the security of its people, economy, and infrastructure. These threats go substantially beyond traditionally recognized concerns. To anticipate, respond to, and prevent future occurrences of the type that took place on that day, the United States is creating an administrative structure called Homeland Security.

Responses to potential threats include the creation of systems capable of securing our nation’s communication systems from infiltration, safeguarding our transportation systems from disablement, and preventing harm to our people from various weapons, including chemical and biological agents. Technologies enabled by AMO science continue to make communications faster and cheaper, and the use of new cryptographic codes based on quantum physics rather than classical physics promises to better protect our national information infrastructure from unfriendly intrusions.

AMO science continues not only to make our more traditional defense systems better but also to give us increasingly sophisticated and effective sensors for the early detection of threats to both civilian and military populations from chemical and biological agents. AMO science’s continuing progress in detection systems offers a significant boost to the development of early and effective countermeasures against such threats.

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