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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P02906X/1
Title: A Clear Road Ahead- Developing a Combined Technological and Socio-Economic Approach to Freeing Affected Communities from Anti-Vehicle Landmines
Principal Investigator: Kosmas, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Papaioannou, Dr E Barras, Dr J Ikpe, Dr E
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Informatics
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: GCRF (EPSRC)
Starts: 01 May 2017 Ends: 30 September 2019 Value (£): 1,011,661
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Survey & Monitoring
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Mar 2017 EPSRC GCRF 1 Meeting B - 17 March 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Clearing landmines both saves and improves lives in numerous different ways. Demining can help a community access agricultural land, markets and food supply, schools, hospitals and other essential services, through the clearing of transportation links and routes. By clearing anti-personnel (AP) and anti-vehicle mines (AVMs) from roads and fields, people and communities are reconnected, and this can bring huge socio-economic benefits to developing countries where these are most needed. Clearing AVMs from roads can also be a prerequisite for other aid agencies and government services to access remote communities. It restores freedom of movement and fosters freedom from fear. However, efforts to clear roads and fields from the threat of landmines are complicated by two issues: 1) the slow speed of current demining approaches particularly for certain classes of landmine; and 2) the need to prioritise the order in which different areas and land types are cleared for maximum benefit in the shortest possible timeframe.

We propose a project to tackle both of these issues, creating a new technological tool for detecting landmines alongside a methodology for examining cultural, political, and socio-economic factors at the national, district, and even community levels. This approach can guarantee the deployment of the technology for the greatest possible benefit in the shortest possible time. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that a combined strategy of this kind has been attempted. The particular target of the project is minimum-metal AVMs laid in roads and fields, which is a class of landmines that is very difficult to detect by other methods, and thus very slow and costly to clear. Beyond this synergistic approach, the project will benefit from the unique advantages of our proposed technology for the clearance of AVMs. This is because our sensor relies on a frequency-sensitive detection of the explosive material, which is contained in large quantities in anti-vehicle mines.

The sensor's underlying technology is based on a quadrupole resonance (QR) approach, which relies on a simple detection mechanism: a pulse or series of radiofrequency (RF) pulses is applied at a particular frequency for the explosives of interest, and the presence (or absence) of a return signal is sought. As with metal detectors, a specially-designed planar RF antenna is placed close to ground level and fed with a sequence of RF pulses at or close to the QR frequency of the explosive to be detected. The same antenna is then used to detect the weak signals emitted by the explosive following the excitation. The important difference from metal detection is that it is the actual explosive contained within the mine that is detected and not any feature of the mine (such as the casing or the trigger), so the false alarm rate is low. This is particularly important for humanitarian demining, which aims to clear most, if not all, of the landmines in the interrogated terrain.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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