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Proceedings Paper

Remote detection of nitroaromatic explosives in soil using distributed sensor particles
Author(s): Robert Joseph Simonson; Bradley G. Hance; Randal L. Schmitt; Mark S. Johnson; Philip J. Hargis
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Paper Abstract

Environmental fate and transport studies of explosives in soil indicate that 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and similar products such as dinitrotoluene (DNT) are major contributors to the trace chemical signature emanating from buried landmines. Chemical analysis methods are under development that have great potential to detect mines, or to rapidly classify electromagnetically detected anomalies as mines vs. 'mine-like objects'. However, these chemical methods are currently confined to point sensors. In contrast, we have developed a method that can remotely determine the presence of nitroaromatic explosives in surface soil. This method utilizes a novel distributed granular sensor approach in combination with uv-visible fluorescence LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. We have produced prototype sensor particles that combine sample preconcentration, explosives sensing, signal amplification, and optical signal output functions. These particles can be sprayed onto soil areas that are suspected of explosives contamination. By design, the fluorescence emission spectrum of the distributed particles is strongly affected by absorption of nitroaromatic explosives from the surrounding environment. Using ~1mg/cm2 coverage of the sensor particles on natural soil, we have observed significant spectral changes due to TNT concentrations in the ppm range (mg TNT/kg soil) on 2-inch diameter targets at a standoff distance of 0.5 km.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 2001
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4394, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets VI, (18 October 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.445416
Show Author Affiliations
Robert Joseph Simonson, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Bradley G. Hance, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Randal L. Schmitt, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Mark S. Johnson, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Philip J. Hargis, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4394:
Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets VI
Abinash C. Dubey; James F. Harvey; J. Thomas Broach; Vivian George, Editor(s)

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