Proximal detection of traces of energetic materials with an eye-safe UV raman prototype developed for civil applications

Roberto Chirico, Salvatore Almaviva, Francesco Colao, Luca Fiorani, Marcello Nuvoli, Wenka Schweikert, Frank Schnürer, Luigi Cassioli, Silvana Grossi, Daniele Murra, Ivano Menicucci, Federico Angelini, Antonio Palucci

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A new Raman-based apparatus for proximal detection of energetic materials on people, was developed and tested for the first time. All the optical and optoelectronics components of the apparatus, as well as their optical matching, were carefully chosen and designed to respect international eye-safety regulations. In this way, the apparatus is suitable for civil applications on people in public areas such as airports and metro or railway stations. The acquisition software performs the data analysis in real-time to provide a fast response to the operator. Moreover, it allows for deployment of the apparatus either as a stand alone device or as part of a more sophisticated warning system architecture made up of several sensors. Using polyamide as substrate, the apparatus was able to detect surface densities of ammonium nitrate (AN), 2-methyl-1,3,5-trinitrobenzene (TNT), 3-nitrooxy-2,2-bis(nitrooxymethyl)propyl] nitrate (PETN) and urea nitrate (UN) in the range of 100-1000 μg/cm2 at a distance of 6.4 m using each time a single laser pulse of 3 mJ/cm2. The limit of detection calculated for AN is 289 μg/cm2. AN and UN provided the highest percentages of true positives (>82% for surface densities of 100-400 μg/cm2 and fingerprints) followed by TNT and PETN (17%-70% for surface densities of 400-1000 μg/cm2 and fingerprints).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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