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7 October 2014 Eye-safe UV Raman spectroscopy for remote detection of explosives and their precursors in fingerprint concentration
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We report the results of Raman investigation performed at stand-off distance between 6-10 m with a new apparatus, capable to detect traces of explosives with surface concentrations similar to those of a single fingerprint. The device was developed as part of the RADEX prototype (RAman Detection of EXplosives) and is capable of detecting the Raman signal with a single laser shot of few ns (10-9 s) in the UV range (wavelength 266 nm), in conditions of safety for the human eye. This is because the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) for the human eye is established to be 3 mJ/cm2 in this wavelength region and pulse duration. Samples of explosives (PETN, TNT, Urea Nitrate, Ammonium Nitrate) were prepared starting from solutions deposited on samples of common fabrics or clothing materials such as blue jeans, leather, polyester or polyamide. The deposition process takes place via a piezoelectric-controlled plotter device, capable of producing drops of welldefined volume, down to nanoliters, on a surface of several cm2, in order to carefully control the amount of explosive released to the tissue and thus simulate a slight stain on a garment of a potential terrorist. Depending on the type of explosive sampled, the detected density ranges from 0.1 to 1 mg/cm2 and is comparable to the density measured in a spot on a dress or a bag due to the contact with hands contaminated with explosives, as it could happen in the preparation of an improvised explosive device (IED) by a terrorist. To our knowledge the developed device is at the highest detection limits nowadays achievable in the field of eyesafe, stand-off Raman instruments. The signals obtained show some vibrational bands of the Raman spectra of our samples with high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), allowing us to identify with high sensitivity (high number of True Positives) and selectivity (low number of False Positives) the explosives, so that the instrument could represent the basis for an automated and remote monitoring device.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
S. Almaviva, F. Angelini, R. Chirico, A. Palucci, M. Nuvoli, F. Schnuerer, W. Schweikert, and F. S. Romolo "Eye-safe UV Raman spectroscopy for remote detection of explosives and their precursors in fingerprint concentration", Proc. SPIE 9253, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence X; and Optical Materials and Biomaterials in Security and Defence Systems Technology XI, 925303 (7 October 2014);

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