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29 May 2014 High-sensitivity explosives detection using dual-excitation-wavelength resonance-Raman detector
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A key challenge for standoff explosive sensors is to distinguish explosives, with high confidence, from a myriad of unknown background materials that may have interfering spectral peaks. To meet this challenge a sensor needs to exhibit high specificity and high sensitivity in detection at low signal-to-noise ratio levels. We had proposed a Dual-Excitation- Wavelength Resonance-Raman Detector (DEWRRED) to address this need. In our previous work, we discussed various components designed at WVHTCF for a DEWRRED sensor. In this work, we show a completely assembled laboratory prototype of a DEWRRED sensor and utilize it to detect explosives from two standoff distances. The sensor system includes two novel, compact CW deep-Ultraviolet (DUV) lasers, a compact dual-band high throughput DUV spectrometer, and a highly-sensitive detection algorithm. We choose DUV excitation because Raman intensities from explosive traces are enhanced and fluorescence and solar background are not present. The DEWRRED technique exploits the excitation wavelength dependence of Raman signal strength, arising from complex interplay of resonant enhancement, self-absorption and laser penetration depth. We show measurements from >10 explosives/pre-cursor materials at different standoff distances. The sensor showed high sensitivity in explosive detection even when the signalto- noise ratio was close to one (~1.6). We measured receiver-operating-characteristics, which show a clear benefit in using the dual-excitation-wavelength technique as compared to a single-excitation-wavelength technique. Our measurements also show improved specificity using the amplitude variation information in the dual-excitation spectra.
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Balakishore Yellampalle, William B. McCormick, Hai-Shan Wu, Mikhail Sluch, Robert Martin, Robert V. Ice, and Brian Lemoff "High-sensitivity explosives detection using dual-excitation-wavelength resonance-Raman detector", Proc. SPIE 9073, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XV, 90730H (29 May 2014);

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