OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 6 — Mar. 15, 2010
  • pp: 5399–5406

Noncontact detection of homemade explosive constituents via photodissociation followed by laser-induced fluorescence

C. M. Wynn, S. Palmacci, R. R. Kunz, and M. Rothschild  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 6, pp. 5399-5406 (2010)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (323 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Noncontact detection of the homemade explosive constituents urea nitrate, nitromethane and ammonium nitrate is achieved using photodissociation followed by laser-induced fluorescence (PD-LIF). Our technique utilizes a single ultraviolet laser pulse (~7 ns) to vaporize and photodissociate the condensed-phase materials, and then to detect the resulting vibrationally-excited NO fragments via laser-induced fluorescence. PD-LIF excitation and emission spectra indicate the creation of NO in vibrationally-excited states with significant rotational energy, useful for low-background detection of the parent compound. The results for homemade explosives are compared to one another and 2,6-dinitrotoluene, a component present in many military explosives.

© 2010 OSA

OCIS Codes
(190.4180) Nonlinear optics : Multiphoton processes
(280.0280) Remote sensing and sensors : Remote sensing and sensors
(280.3420) Remote sensing and sensors : Laser sensors
(300.2530) Spectroscopy : Fluorescence, laser-induced

ToC Category:
Remote Sensing

Original Manuscript: January 4, 2010
Revised Manuscript: January 27, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: February 2, 2010
Published: March 1, 2010

C. M. Wynn, S. Palmacci, R. R. Kunz, and M. Rothschild, "Noncontact detection of homemade explosive constituents via photodissociation followed by laser-induced fluorescence," Opt. Express 18, 5399-5406 (2010)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. T. Tamiri, R. Rozin, N. Lemberger, and J. Almog, “Urea nitrate, an exceptionally easy-to-make improvised explosive: studies towards trace characterization,” Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 395(2), 421–428 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. K. Yaeger, in Trace Chemical Sensing of Explosives R. Woodfin, ed. (Wiley, NY, 2007) Chap. 3.
  3. D. S. Moore, “Instrumentation for trace detection of high explosives,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 75(8), 2499–2512 (2004). [CrossRef]
  4. T. Arusi-Parpar, D. Heflinger, and R. Lavi, “Photodissociation followed by laser-induced fluorescence at atmospheric pressure and 24 degrees C: a unique scheme for remote detection of explosives,” Appl. Opt. 40(36), 6677–6681 (2001). [CrossRef]
  5. D. Helfinger, T. Arusi-Parpar, Y. Ron, and R. Lavi, “Application of a unique scheme for remote detection of explosives,” Opt. Commun. 204(1-6), 327–331 (2002). [CrossRef]
  6. C. M. Wynn, S. Palmacci, R. R. Kunz, K. Clow, and M. Rothschild, “Detection of condensed-phase explosives via laser-induced vaporization, photodissociation, and resonant excitation,” Appl. Opt. 47(31), 5767–5776 (2008). [CrossRef]
  7. J. Steinfeld and J. Wormhoudt, “Explosives detection: A challenge for physical chemistry,” Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 49(1), 203–232 (1998). [CrossRef]
  8. Y. Q. Guo, A. Bhattacharya, and E. R. Bernstein, “Photodissociation dynamics of nitromethane at 226 and 271 nm at both nanosecond and femtosecond time scales,” J. Phys. Chem. 113, 85 (2009). [CrossRef]
  9. J. Luque and D.R. Crosley, “LIFBASE: Database and Spectral Simulation Program,” SRI International Report MP 99–009 (1999).
  10. J. Luque and D. R. Crosley, “Transition probabilities and electronic transition moments of the A2Σ+–X2Π and D2Σ+–X2Π systems of nitric oxide,” J. Chem. Phys. 111, 7405 (1999). [CrossRef]
  11. P. Grammaticakis, “Contributiona l’etude de l’absorption dans l’ultraviolet moyen des anilines ortho-substituees. III. Orthonitro- et orthocarboxy- anilines N-substituees,” Bull. Soc. Chim. Fr. 17, 158–166 (1950).
  12. We assume the nitrate dominates the absorption near 236 nm. Nitrate cross section from:G. Mark, H. Korth, H. Schuchmann, and C. von Sonntag, “The photochemistry of aqueous nitrate ion revisited,” J. Photochem. Photobio. A 101(2-3), 89–103 (1996). [CrossRef]
  13. Y. Q. Guo, M. Greenfield, A. Bhattacharya, and E. R. Bernstein, “On the excited electronic state dissociation of nitramine energetic materials and model systems,” J. Chem. Phys. 127(15), 154301 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. Y. Q. Guo, M. Greenfield, and E. R. Bernstein, “Decomposition of nitramine energetic materials in excited electronic states: RDX and HMX,” J. Chem. Phys. 122(24), 244310 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. T. Tajime, T. Saheki, and K. Ito, “Absorption characteristics of the γ-0 band of nitric oxide,” Appl. Opt. 17(8), 1290–1294 (1978). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. M. Islam, I. W. M. Smith, and M. H. Alexander, “Rate constants for total relaxation from the rotational levels J = 7.5, 20.5, 31.5 and 40.5 in NO(X2Π1/2, v = 2) in collisions with He, Ar and N2: a comparison between experiment and theory,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 305(5-6), 311–318 (1999). [CrossRef]
  17. C. M. Wynn, S. Palmacci, R. R. Kunz, J. J. Zayhowski, B. Edwards, and M. Rothschild, “Experimental demonstration of remote detection of trace explosives,” Proc. SPIE 6954, 695407 (2008). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Fig. 4

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited