Detection of explosives by plasma optical emission spectroscopy

Jane H. Fujiyama-Novak, Chethan Kumar Gaddam, Debanjan Das, Randall L.Vander Wal, Benjamin Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A new pre-concentration/separation system coupled to a micro-hollow glow discharge (MHGD) plasma detector is demonstrated for the analysis of explosives. The detector and spectrometer are miniaturized and field-portable. Separation eliminated air interferences while pre-concentration improved detection limits for TATP (triacetone triperoxide) and DNT (dinitrotoluene). In the analysis step, a temperature ramp desorbed the two explosives into an entraining Ar flow. Optical emission spectroscopy (OES) was applied to detect the plasma generated atomic and diatomic radicals using a spectrometer at atmospheric pressure. For both test species, the detection limits reached values lower than 5 ppb. The effect of an at-sea environment was also evaluated. Such a detector system is very promising for the detection of explosives due its small size, high sensitivity and selectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-993
Number of pages9
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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