PEL Associates has developed new, and novel smart sensors which have direct application to securing our shipping containers, ports, borders, aircraft, and airports which are considered vulnerable to terrorism.


Shipping Containers

Current container inspection methods rely on slow and expensive manual procedures, and on x-raying and gamma ray inspection techniques, and the use of radiation detectors on specific containers of interest. Rarely can more than a small percentage of the sixteen million containers arriving each year be adequately inspected, and any uninspected container can pose significant risk.

PEL Associates is developing low cost, passive  polymeric film sensors to be placed within each container to address this problem. These sensors will respond to hazardous materials such as CBW agents or radioactive substances by displaying a specific color or conductivity level indicative of a particular hazard. The mechanism involves sensing element responders which react with the vapor of CBW materials to produce a specific color, or which change conductivity upon sensing a particular type of incident radiation. The cost of such film sensors is estimated to be less than $5 each.  This method should allow for 100% of containers inspected 24/7.

Port Security

PEL's smart, low cost, passive micro-sensors can be tailored to detect unauthorized vehicles or swimmers entering a port.  These sensors can be so arranged for specific port type, topography, and operations. 


The technology should be applicable to both commercial and government ports and could be a unique and important aspect of overall port protection requirements. Examples include near shore chemical plants, nuclear power plants, and military bases.  The sensors can also protect battle groups or precious monuments like the Statue of Liberty.

Border Security

Unattended ground smart sensor system was developed to detect and communicate the presence of border crossing events.  The approach consists of a detection and communication processing system capable of high probability of detection and no false positives.  Specific activation and emitted indicators detect and differentiate between people, vehicles, or particular animals.  Communication is provided by PEL state of the art Gen I-III detection systems

Airport/Aircraft Security


Planes caught in bad icing conditions have no good alternative once icing develops and possibly drives the plane down and out of control.  Planes currently, waiting to enter the runway and those positioning for takeoff must be repeatedly washed with anti freeze which is a slow, costly, method with short lifetime. PEL's renewable micro coatings will automatically deice aircraft on command, leaving a clean surface and placing the planes back under safe control.  

Wind Shear

Strong wind shear downdrafts can occur in takeoff and landing areas.  Planes caught in such downdrafts have no alternative once wind shear develops and often drives the plane to crash.  With early wind monitoring and detection by PEL's new nano-sensors, planes can be alerted, diverted or detained until it is safe.

Airport Security

Adjacent airport areas have become vulnerable to terrorists aiming shoulder held rockets from "manpads" at incoming and out-going aircraft.  PEL's ground-based micro sensors will instantaneously detect terrorists and signal for automatic interdiction placing the airport and vulnerable planes back into safe operation.