Noninvasive detection of concealed explosives: depth profiling through opaque plastics by time-resolved Raman spectroscopy.

I.E.I. Petterson, M. López, C. Garciá-Ruiz, C. Gooijer, J.B. Buijs, F. Ariese

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The detection of explosives concealed behind opaque, diffusely scattering materials is a challenge that requires noninvasive analytical techniques for identification without having to manipulate the package. In this context, this study focuses on the application of time-resolved Raman spectroscopy (TRRS) with a picosecond pulsed laser and an intensified charge-coupled device (ICCD) detector for the noninvasive identification of explosive materials through several millimeters of opaque polymers or plastic packaging materials. By means of a short (250 ps) gate which can be delayed several hundred picoseconds after the laser pulse, the ICCD detector allows for the temporal discrimination between photons from the surface of a sample and those from deeper layers. TRRS was applied for the detection of the two main isomers of dinitrotoluene, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, and 2,6-dinitrotoluene as well as for various other components of explosive mixtures, including akardite II, diphenylamine, and ethyl centralite. Spectra were obtained through different diffuse scattering white polymer materials: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyoxymethylene (POM), and polyethylene (PE). Common packaging materials of various thicknesses were also selected, including polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). With the demonstration of the ability to detect concealed, explosives-related compounds through an opaque first layer, this study may have important applications in the security and forensic fields. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8517-8523
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
Early online date17 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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