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Proceedings Paper

Mass spectrometric detection of solid and vapor explosive materials
Author(s): William R. Stott; D. Green; Alvaro G. Mercado
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Paper Abstract

The detection by chemical sensors of explosive devices in a terrorist or contraband scenario usually involves the acquisition of material in the vapor or solid form. Whether in the vapor form in ambient air or in solid form in a matrix of innocuous material, the chemical compounds may be present at very low concentrations or may be present in concentrations higher by orders of magnitude. In this study, a characterization of a tandem mass spectrometer detection system has been made to evaluate a variety of parameters as it relates to explosive chemicals in both the vapor and solid phases. In particular, a range of concentrations of standard solutions of RDX, PETN and TNT have been injected in determine the sensitivity, dynamic range, and lower level of detection of the SCIEX contraband tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer. Techniques for the introduction of samples include heated nebulization and direct injection/thermal desorption from a real time sampler belt. As well, explosive vapors produced by a special generator were injected in a 1 l/min stream of room air and used to characterize instrumental performance. Solid material was presented in a form simulating fingerprint material and then transferred to the detector using a real time sampling system and then thermally desorbed into the mass spectrometer ionization chamber.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 October 1994
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2276, Cargo Inspection Technologies, (6 October 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.189159
Show Author Affiliations
William R. Stott, SCIEX (Canada)
D. Green, Digital Control Systems (United States)
Alvaro G. Mercado, FAA Technical Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2276:
Cargo Inspection Technologies
Andre H. Lawrence, Editor(s)

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