Dr. Hummel received his Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He was invited at the University of Florida to work on optical properties of metals and alloys.
In 1995, one of the university’s professors had been attending a professional conference abroad. Coming back in the US, he discovered two explosives were accidentally planted in his suitcase by foreign authorities to test security measures. Being frustrated about this and being well aware of Dr. Hummel’s work, he asked him if his optical technology couldn’t improve the airport security industry, which proved to be the case.
Two highly talented students from Dr. Hummel were excited to turn science into an application and got their PhDs by doing more research and development on the idea. Then Thierry Dubroca and Max Lemaitre joined the engineering effort and developed a demonstration prototype.
This eventually lead to the incorporation of Delta R® Detection as a start-up venture to commercialize the newly developed technology. With the help of the American embassy in The Hague and the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, they got in touch with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Schiphol was looking for technology to make their security department more effective and efficient. Unfortunately it didn’t come to a cooperation.
The former research and development manager of Schiphol Gunther van Adrichem, Wil Ruijsbroek and Michiel Poppink joined forces and started SG11 to innovate the airport security industry.
Van Adrichem: We remembered the great Delta R® technology and were still convinced of the potential. We contacted Thierry Dubroca to carry on the development.
The first focus was the cooperation with the Dutch Customs in their war on drugs in parcels. The growth of Internet trade forces Customs to screen the postal packages faster and better. As a result of the pressure to stop the shipping of illegal drug and the recent technological advances the Dutch ministry of safety and justice offered SG11 a grant to develop the Delta R technology for this specific application.
Poppink: Although we had a working prototype we had to review all the hardware, develop the software and the housing. For the housing we partnered with INTOS, a high-quality interior development company with extensive experience in developing products for airports.
Besides detecting drugs we see a lot of other applicants like screening shoes, passengers, passports etc.
Ruijsbroek: The next project is with a top 10 European airport. They face the double challenge to comply with new rules and while minimizing the security line wait time. We are applying this technology to an explosive shoe scanner, which is scheduled for tests at an airport in the coming months.