Abstract

A number of energetic materials and explosives have been studied by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). They include black powder, neat explosives such as TNT, PETN, HMX, and RDX (in various forms), propellants such as M43 and JA2, and military explosives such as C4 and LX-14. Each of these materials gives a unique spectrum, and generally the spectra are reproducible shot to shot. We observed that the laser-produced microplasma did not initiate any of the energetic materials studied. Extensive studies of black powder and its ingredients by use of a reference spectral library have demonstrated excellent accuracy for unknown identification. Finally, we observed that these nitrogen- and oxygen-rich materials yield LIBS spectra in air that have correspondingly different O:N peak ratios compared with air. This difference can help in the detection and identification of such energetic materials.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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