Abstract

A promising scheme for the remote detection of nitrate-based explosives, which have low vapor pressure, involves two lasers: the first to desorb, vaporize, and photofragment the explosive molecule and the second to create laser-induced fluorescence in the NO fragment. It is desirable to use for the first a powerful 532nm frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser. In this study, we investigate the degree of photofragmentation into NO resulting from the irradiation of the explosives RDX and HMX coated on a variety of surfaces. The desorption step is followed by femtosecond laser ionization and time-of-flight mass spectrometry to reveal the fragments produced in the first step. We find that modest laser power of 532nm desorbs the explosive and produces adequate amounts of NO.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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