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Transportation Security Laboratory

TSL LaboratoryThe mission of the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) is to serve as the leading federal laboratory for the applied research, development, integration, and validation of cutting edge science and technology solutions for the detection and mitigation of explosives and conventional weapons threats in order to secure the homeland.

Learn more about the TSL and Department National Laboratories.

Expertise and Capabilities

The Transportation Security Laboratory performs life-cycle management of technology from conception to deployment for the detection and mitigation of explosives. The life cycle includes applied research, development, prototyping, test and evaluation, certification, systems qualification tests, and laboratory assessment testing. The TSL expertise is internationally recognized for its role in the development of standards, protocols, and test articles for detection technology assessments.

The four enduring capabilities of the TSL include:

  • People. The TSL is staffed with the world leaders in explosives detection. TSL staff have over 1000 person-years of experience in explosives detection and mitigation.
  • Property. The TSL has specially designed facilities and infrastructure within a twelve acre secured campus.
  • Processes. One hundred percent of all security equipment presently deployed at U.S. airports has been developed, qualified, or certified by the TSL for the Transportation Security Administration.
  • Partnerships. The TSL maintains a vast network of established partners including other government agencies, foreign governments, and industry.

Product Areas

The Research Development Test and Evaluation programs conducted at the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) have provided deployment ready explosive detection equipment, including explosive detection systems (EDS), explosive trace detectors, enhanced metal detectors, suicide bomb detection technology, hardened cargo containers for aircraft, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, and biometric standards. The programs have further provided a variety of ancillary products, such as modular bomb set training kits, high fidelity simulants for explosives, and quality control aides for EDSs, and K-9s. TSL’s product areas include:

  • Commerce Inspection
  • Conveyance Protection
  • Infrastructure Protection
  • Personnel Inspection

Technology Focus Areas

Members of the Transportation Security Laboratory team serve as subject matter experts for U.S. and international researchers, and as technology developers in the following areas of focus:

  • Access Control and Analysis Technology
  • Bulk Detection Technology
  • Communication and Radio Frequency Identification
  • Explosive Effects and Survivability
  • Human Factors
  • Trace Detection Technology


The Transportation Security Lab facilities are used to perform research on explosives characteristics and chemistry, suicide detection imaging technology, human factor performance evaluations, and communications.  Specialized blast resistant labs are used to evaluate explosive detection equipment and imaging equipment against an extensive library of domestic, foreign, and home made explosive compounds.  TSL's core laboratory capabilities include:

  • Bulk Detection Laboratory
  • C4I Laboratory
  • Electromagnetic Studies of Explosives Laboratory
  • Explosives Effects Laboratory
  • Human Factors Laboratory
  • Simulant Development Laboratory
  • Trace Detection Laboratory

TSL's people and infrastructure provide the Department of Homeland Security with unparalleled capabilities to address the threat of weapons and explosives to homeland security - today and tomorrow.

Independent Test and Evaluation

The Transportation Security Laboratory's Independent Test & Evaluation group conducts time-critical independent verification and validation of advanced threat detection systems for inspection of transportation commerce including people, goods and baggage. Learn more about TSL Independent Test and Evaluation.


The Transportation Security Laboratory has fostered productive relationships with government agencies, industry, and academia both in the U.S. and abroad. Learn more about TSL partnerships.

Visiting the Transportation Security Laboratory

Learn more about visiting the TSL. 


U.S. Department of Homeland Security
William J. Hughes Technical Center - Building 315
Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey 08405

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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