Abstract

Triacetone triperoxide (C9H18O6, molecular mass of 222.24g/mol) (TATP) is a powerful explosive that is easy to synthesize using commonly available household chemicals, acetone, and hydrogen peroxide [1, 2]. Because of the simplicity of its synthesis, TATP is often the explosive of choice for terrorists, including suicide bombers. For providing safety to the population, early detection of TATP and isolation of such individuals are essential. We report unambiguous, high-sensitivity detection of TATP and its precursor, acetone, using room-temperature quantum cascade laser photoacoustic spectroscopy (QCL-PAS). The available sensitivity is such that TATP, carried on a person (at a nominal body temperature of 37°C), should be detectable at some distance. The combination of demonstrated detection of TATP and acetone should be ideal for screening at airports and other public places for providing increased public safety.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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