Abstract

Thin solid films made of high nitro (NO2)/nitrate (NO3) content explosives were deposited on sand-blasted aluminum substrates and then studied using a mercury–cadmium–telluride (MCT) linear array detection system that is capable of rapidly capturing a broad spectrum of atomic and molecular laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) emissions in the long-wave infrared region (LWIR; ∼5.6–10 µm). Despite the similarities of their chemical compositions and structures, thin films of three commonly used explosives (RDX, HMX, and PETN) studied in this work can be rapidly identified in the ambient air by their molecular LIBS emission signatures in the LWIR region. A preliminary assessment of the detection limit for a thin film of RDX on aluminum appears to be much lower than 60 µg/cm2. This LWIR LIBS setup is capable of rapidly probing and charactering samples without the need for elaborate sample preparation and also offers the possibility of a simultaneous ultraviolet visible and LWIR LIBS measurement.

© 2017 The Author(s)

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