Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and spectral analysis of improvised explosive materials

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Conference Proceeding

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There exists an unmet need in the discovery and identification of certain improvised explosive (IE) materials. IE contain a wide range of materials, many of which are not well classified by available hand-held tools, especially metal powders and food products. Available measurement approaches are based in the identification of specific subgroups such as nitro/nitrate and chlorate/perchlorate, normally with Raman spectroscopy. The presence of metal powders is not detected by these approaches, and further the powders themselves scatter the laser radiation used in the excitation of the spectra, making other components more difficult to discern. Preliminary work with laserinduced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) shows that metal powders are easily detected and identified, and that fuel compounds in flash powder mixtures are easily classified with principal component analysis into those containing oxygen and chlorine or those containing oxygen and nitrogen. Alkali and alkali metal signals are readily used to determine the cation of any salt submitted to analysis. © 2014 SPIE.

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