Detection Systems

Icon graphic showing an automation system

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In four interdisciplinary groups, we develop, evaluate and utilise innovative sensors and systems to protect critical infrastructures from hazards such as operational accidents, vandalism, terrorist attacks and extreme weather events. In our work, we always focus on technological innovation, close collaboration and practical application to minimise the risks for strategically important facilities.

Detection systems are indispensable for obtaining a complete and undistorted overview of the respective danger situation. Nature shows us that just one sense organ is often not enough to perceive reality in its entirety – food tastes different if one cannot smell and information about the distance of objects is lost if you close one of your eyes. Therefore, in protecting critical infrastructures, we do not rely on individual sensors but on networked and cleverly distributed systems. These can consist of multiple sensors of the same type or a combination of different sensor types – we find the optimal composition depending on the scenario.

Our work covers three core areas:

  • Detection of hazardous substances: Here we develop methods, techniques and sensors to quickly and reliably detect and identify hazardous substances. The focus is particularly on hazardous substances from the CBRNE sector (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive substances).
  • Reliable detection systems: We implement and integrate various sensors to create robust systems. These systems convert the signals of the sensors into digital data to detect threats in real time and transmit the information securely.
  • Data processing and analysis: We digitally process and analyse the signals of the sensors. This allows us to extract important information and, for example, identify substances or objects. The results can also be used by other departments.

The department consists of four interdisciplinary groups. Two of them cover the entire field of hazardous substance detection. The third group combines solutions developed by us with commercially available sensors into a holistic system. The fourth group provides engineering expertise, field testing and measurements. All teams work closely together to ensure a comprehensive monitoring and protection system.

We are currently working on various internal, cross-institutional and externally funded projects, such as LaMoSa, in which we are developing innovative sensor technologies to detect hazardous substances. We frequently cooperate with various universities, companies and other partners.

Our latest publications can be found in the publications section.


Dr. rer. nat. Kostyantin Konstantynovski

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute for the Protection of Terrestrial Infrastructures
Detection Systems
Egermannstraße 1, 53359 Rheinbach

Dr. Christof Hammer

Group Leader
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute for the Protection of Terrestrial Infrastructures
Detection Systems
Rathausallee 12, 53757 Sankt Augustin