It depends on what technology you're talking about. The technology wasn't designed to detect an IED that is built from different components. When
it was developed the big threat was from already made explosives, so it was designed to find "actual" explosives. But even then some explosives are
extremely hard to detect on some equipment. X-rays are advancing, but there is only so much that can be done with a checkpoint x-ray. If you want a
better system it's going to require a bigger system. Most checkpoints won't handle bigger systems than are there now.
That is the CTX 5500. It's one of the best systems out there for detecting explosives, but even it relies on the operator to find other things. I
can't and won't go into details on how it operates, but it's by far the best system on the market. But it's also by far too big and slow to
operate in a checkpoint.
This is the Rapiscan 522B, one of the more popular systems for checkpoints. It's a good system, and it tests the operator as they scan bags. But if
you have a cluttered bag, it's 10x harder to find something than in an emptier bag. And most people have very cluttered bags.
There are three checkpoint systems that I worked with. Most airports operate the same three companies. Rapiscan, L-3, and Hyman. All are decent
systems, but personally I found the Rapiscan to be the easiest to work with, and the best system.
These are the Ion Track Itemiser, and the Barringer Ion Scan. The Itemiser is by FAR the best system on the market. It's biggest problem was too
many products caused it to alarm. However, thanks to some recent discoveries by GE/Ion Track that problem has been resolved.
Now for some new technologies.
This is the EntryScan by Ion Track. It consists of an Itemiser mounted on top, with sensing chambers on the sides. Again, I can't and won't go
into details on the operation of this system.
This is the Secure 1000 backscatter x-ray system. Backscatter x-rays are the newest technology, and will find anything you would want to hide. Think
they're coming soon to an airport to keep you safe? Think again! The ACLU has already started a campaign against them because they can show the
outline of genitals. The regulations require a female screener for a female passenger, and male screener for male passengers, but that's not good
enough. The ACLU wants them kept out of airports completely.
The EntryScan is just now beginning to be installed at a few test airports around the US to see how well the system works. But again, these systems
were designed to find something along the lines of C-4 and other premade explosives. NOT something that you can carry on separately and mix together,
unless one of them is some kind of explosive already.