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If airport security scanners of any kind (xray, thermal, whatever else they use) looked at two items:

  • A printed paper textbook
  • The same printed paper textbook into which we have inserted a regular folded US letter-sized paper with something written on it with a pencil, pen, marker, etc.

Could the security be able to detect the difference between the two?

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7  
Are you planning on trying to smuggle something through airport security? –  Kyle Kanos May 14 at 18:32
1  
Hope you're using a proxy. –  BMS May 14 at 19:41
    
The same answer here applies: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/112726/… Just plug in different numbers. And don't smuggle illegal things. –  Davidmh May 15 at 8:25
    
If they are using a laser system they possibly could. I doubt they would because it'd be expensive, huge, and could possibly kill people. –  Steven Walton Aug 24 at 2:34
    
@KyleKanos: I don't think the plebs aka 'airport security staff' are too concerned with hand-written notes :) –  JamalS Nov 8 at 13:02

2 Answers 2

No, it would look exactly the same as far as the x-ray is concerned.

Think x-ray passing through paper and ink.

Thermal?

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Paper is paper. Airport security won't find a piece of hand-written paper inside a book because they aren't looking for it. They are almost exclusively concerned with weapons, and paper isn't a weapon. They don't even want to find things like narcotics - not their job and it requires lots of police paperwork. Similarly, they are spectacularly uninterested in the contents of your computer.

Now, that's security getting on the plane. If you are talking about Customs and Immigration after you get off the plane, that's a different story. If you have come to the attention of C&I, the folded paper will be of interest and will be read. If it's homework on the textbook topic, no problem. If it's building plans to a national monument you should expect to miss your connecting flight.

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