Differential reflectometry (DR) is an effective tool to supplement existing explosives detection systems thus making the combined unit more effective than one tool alone. It is an optical technique in which the light beam (UV) emanates from an extended distance onto the substance under investigation, thus rendering it to be a standoff method. DR allows the measurement of the energies that electrons absorb from photons as they are raised into higher, allowed energy states. These electron transitions serve as a “fingerprint” for identifying substances. The device can be made portable; it is fast, safe for the public, does not require human involvement, is cost effective, and most of all, does not require ingestion of a suspicious substance into an instrument. Various embodiments are presented.
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