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Ambient pressure laser desorption and laser-induced acoustic desorption ion mobility spectrometry detection of explosives.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Analytical Chemistry
1520-6882
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Volume
85
Issue
22
Pages
11047–11053
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/ac402704c
PMID: 24116702
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The development of fast, mobile, and sensitive detection systems for security-relevant substances is of enormous importance. Because of the low vapor pressures of explosives and improvised explosive devices, adequate sampling procedures are crucial. Ion mobility spectrometers (IMSs) are fast and sensitive instruments that are used as detection systems for explosives. Ambient pressure laser desorption (APLD) and ambient pressure laser-induced acoustic desorption (AP-LIAD) are new tools suitable to evaporate explosives in order to detect them in the vapor phase. Indeed, the most important advantage of APLD or AP-LIAD is the capability to sample directly from the surface of interest without any transfer of the analyte to other surfaces such as wipe pads. A much more gentle desorption, compared to classical thermal-based desorption, is possible with laser-based desorption using very short laser pulses. With this approach the analyte molecules are evaporated in a very fast process, comparable to a shock wave. The thermal intake is reduced considerably. The functionality of APLD and AP-LIAD techniques combined with a hand-held IMS system is shown for a wide range of common explosives such as EGDN (ethylene glycol dinitrate), urea nitrate, PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate), HMTD (hexamethylene triperoxide diamine), RDX (hexogen), tetryl (2,4,6-trinitrophenylmethylnitramine), and TNT (trinitrotoluene). Detection limits down to the low nanogram range are obtained. The successful combination of IMS detection and APLD/AP-LIAD sampling is shown.

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