Standoff laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has previously been used to classify trace residues as either hazardous (explosives, biological, etc.) or benign. Correct classification can become more difficult depending on the surface/substrate underneath the residue due to variations in the laser-material interaction. In addition, classification can become problematic if the substrate material has a similar elemental composition to the residue. We have evaluated coupling multivariate analysis with standoff LIBS to determine the effectiveness of classifying thin explosive residue layers on painted surfaces. Good classification results were obtained despite the fact that the painted surface contributes to the LIBS emission signal.
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