Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for the remote detection of explosives at level of fingerprints

S. Almaviva, A. Palucci, V. Lazic, I. Menicucci, M. Nuvoli, M. Pistilli, L. De Dominicis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


We report the results of the application of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) for the detection of some common military explosives and theirs precursors deposited on white varnished car's external and black car's internal or external plastic. The residues were deposited by an artificial silicon finger, to simulate material manipulation by terrorists when preparing a car bomb, leaving traces of explosives on the parts of a car. LIBS spectra were acquired by using a first prototype laboratory stand-off device, developed in the framework of the EU FP7 313077 project EDEN (End-user driven DEmo for CBRNe). The system operates at working distances 8-30 m and collects the LIBS in the spectral range 240-840 nm. In this configuration, the target was moved precisely in X-Y direction to simulate the scanning system, to be implemented successively. The system is equipped with two colour cameras, one for wide scene view and another for imaging with a very high magnification, capable to discern fingerprints on a target. The spectral features of each examined substance were identified and compared to those belonging to the substrate and the surrounding air, and those belonging to possible common interferents. These spectral differences are discussed and interpreted. The obtained results show that the detection and discrimination of nitro-based compounds like RDX, PETN, ammonium nitrate (AN), and urea nitrate (UN) from organic interfering substances like diesel, greasy lubricants, greasy adhesives or oils in fingerprint concentration, at stand-off distance of some meters or tenths of meters is feasible.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Sensing and Detection IV - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 1 Jan 2016 → …


ConferenceOptical Sensing and Detection IV
Period1/1/16 → …


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Almaviva, S., Palucci, A., Lazic, V., Menicucci, I., Nuvoli, M., Pistilli, M., & De Dominicis, L. (2016). Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for the remote detection of explosives at level of fingerprints. Paper presented at Optical Sensing and Detection IV, Brussels, Belgium.