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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: James C. Wyant
  • Vol. 46, Iss. 25 — Sep. 1, 2007
  • pp: 6397–6404

High-sensitivity detection of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and its precursor acetone

Ilya Dunayevskiy, Alexei Tsekoun, Manu Prasanna, Rowel Go, and C. Kumar N. Patel  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 46, Issue 25, pp. 6397-6404 (2007)

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Triacetone triperoxide ( C 9 H 18 O 6 , molecular mass of 222.24 g / 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

OCIS Codes
(010.1120) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Air pollution monitoring
(300.6340) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, infrared
(140.5965) Lasers and laser optics : Semiconductor lasers, quantum cascade

ToC Category:
Other Areas of Optics

Original Manuscript: February 23, 2007
Revised Manuscript: July 9, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: July 10, 2007
Published: August 28, 2007

Ilya Dunayevskiy, Alexei Tsekoun, Manu Prasanna, Rowel Go, and C. Kumar N. Patel, "High-sensitivity detection of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and its precursor acetone," Appl. Opt. 46, 6397-6404 (2007)

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  1. R. Wolfenstein, "Über die Einwirkung von Wasserstoff Superoxyd auf Aceton und Mesityloxyd," Chem. Ber. 28, 2265-2269 (1895). [CrossRef]
  2. J. C. Oxley, J. L. Smith, K. Shinde, and J. Moran, "Determination of vapor density of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) using a gas chromatography headspace technique," Propellants, Explos. Pyrotech. 30, 127-130 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]
  3. See, for example, a detailed account in I. Cotte-Rodriguez, H. Chen, and R. G. Cooks, "Rapid trace detection of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) by compexation reactions during desorption electrospray ionization," Chem. Commun. 10, 953-955 (2006).
  4. M. B. Pushkarsky, M. E. Webber, and C. K. N. Patel, "Ultra-sensitive ambient ammonia detection using CO2 laser-based photoacoustic spectroscopy," Appl. Phys. B 77, 381-385 (2003). [CrossRef]
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  7. M. B. Pushkarsky, I. G. Dunayevskiy, M. Prasanna, A. Tsekoun, R. Go, and C. K. N. Patel, "High sensitivity spectroscopic detection of TNT using continuously tunable CW room temperature high power quantum cascade lasers," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 19630-19634 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. M. B. Pushkarsky, A. Tsekoun, I. G. Dunayevskiy, R. Go, and C. K. N. Patel, "Sub-ppb level detection of NO2 using room temperature quantum cascade lasers," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 10846-10849 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. A. Tsekoun, R. Go, M. B. Pushkarsky, M. Razeghi, and C. K. N. Patel, "Improved performance of quantum cascade lasers utilizing epi-down mounting," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 4831-4835 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. L. S. Rothman, A. Barbe, D. C. Benner, L. R. Brown, C. Camy-Peyret, M. R. Carleer, K. Chance, C. Clerbaux, V. Dana, V. M. Devi, A. Fayt, J.-M. Flaud, R. R. Gamache, A. Goldman, D. Jacquemart, K. W. Jucks, W. J. Lafferty, J.-Y. Mandin, S. T. Massie, V. Nemtchinov, D. A. Newnham, A. Perrin, C. P. Rinsland, J. Schroeder, K. M. Smith, M. A. H. Smith, K. Tang, R. A. Toth, J. Vander Auwera, P. Varanasi, and K. Yoshino, "The HITRAN molecular spectroscopic database: edition of 2000 including updates of 2001," J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 82, 5-44 (2003). [CrossRef]
  11. A. Schmohl, A. Miklos, and P. Hess, "Detection of ammonia by photoacoustic spectroscopy with semiconductor lasers," Appl. Opt. 41, 1815-1823 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. Acetone permeation tube obtained from VICI Metronics, Inc., Poulsbo, Washington 98370 USA.
  13. S. W. Sharpe, T. J. Johnson, R. L. Sams, P. M. Chu, G. C. Rhoderick, and P. A. Johnson, "Gas-phase databases for quantitative infrared spectroscopy," Appl. Spectrosc. 58, 1452 (2004) and DOE/PNNL Infrared Spectral Library Release--11.0 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for Selected Airborne Contaminants, Vol. 4 (National Academy of Sciences, 2000).
  15. Continuous sample collection and analysis is routinely carried out in semiconductor fabrication clean rooms using Pranalytica's commercial CO2 laser-based PA sensors that detect the presence of ammonia at sub-ppb levels.

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