Manchester Airport will be the first in the UK to buy a scanning system used in cancer hospitals to detect explosives in luggage.
It has ordered a Rapiscan RTT high-speed baggage screening system which uses computed tomography, or CT, scans of the type used in medicine to estimate the size of tumours.
Airports generally use x-rays to scan baggage because CT scans, although more effective, take too long. Rapiscan's new RTT machine , whose name stands for real time tomography, delivers 3-D images claims to work just as quickly as an x-ray.
The machine can also detect viscosity levels in liquids, alerting security staff to fluids containing explosives.
Rapiscan which is headquartered in California, owns a UK cargo division in Congleton which makes machines for scanning cargo and vehicles while its CXR research and development arm, set up a base in the UK in 2006 to collaborate with the University of Manchester on 3-D scanning.