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Proceedings Paper

Laser-based standoff detection of surface-bound explosive chemicals
Author(s): David L. Huestis; Gregory P. Smith; Harald Oser
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Paper Abstract

Avoiding or minimizing potential damage from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) such as suicide, roadside, or vehicle bombs requires that the explosive device be detected and neutralized outside its effective blast radius. Only a few seconds may be available to both identify the device as hazardous and implement a response. As discussed in a study by the National Research Council, current technology is still far from capable of meeting these objectives. Conventional nitrocarbon explosive chemicals have very low vapor pressures, and any vapors are easily dispersed in air. Many pointdetection approaches rely on collecting trace solid residues from dust particles or surfaces. Practical approaches for standoff detection are yet to be developed. For the past 5 years, SRI International has been working toward development of a novel scheme for standoff detection of explosive chemicals that uses infrared (IR) laser evaporation of surfacebound explosive followed by ultraviolet (UV) laser photofragmentation of the explosive chemical vapor, and then UV laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) of nitric oxide. This method offers the potential of long standoff range (up to 100 m or more), high sensitivity (vaporized solid), simplicity (no spectrometer or library of reference spectra), and selectivity (only nitrocompounds).

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7679, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications II, 76790G (5 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849769
Show Author Affiliations
David L. Huestis, SRI International (United States)
Gregory P. Smith, SRI International (United States)
Harald Oser, SRI International (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7679:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications II
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut Kumar Dutta, Editor(s)

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