Reliable standoff detection of traces of explosives is still a challenging task. Imaging MIR backscattering spectroscopy has been shown to be a promising technique for non-contact detection of traces of explosives on various surfaces. This technique, which is eye-safe, relies on active imaging with MIR laser illumination at various wavelengths. Recording the backscattered light with a MIR camera at each illumination wavelength, the MIR backscattering spectrum can be extracted from the three-dimensional data set recorded for each point within the laser illuminated area. Applying appropriate image analysis algorithms to this hyper-spectral data set, chemically sensitive and selective images of the surface of almost any object can be generated. This way, residues of explosives can be clearly identified on the basis of characteristic finger print backscattering spectra and separated from the corresponding spectra of the underlying material. To achieve a high selectivity, a large spectral coverage is a key requirement. Using a MIR EC-QCL with a tuning range from 7.5 μm to 9.5 μm, different explosives such as TNT, PETN and RDX residing on different background materials, such as painted metal sheets, cloth and polyamide, could be clearly detected and identified. For short stand-off detection distances (<3 m), residues of explosives at an amount of just a few 10 μg, i .e. traces corresponding to a single fingerprint, could be detected. For larger concentration of explosives, stand-off detection over distances of up to 20 m has already been demonstrated. During the European FP7 projects EMPHASIS and HYPERION several field tests were performed at the test site of FOI in Sweden. During these tests realistic scenarios were established comprising test detonations of IEDs. We could demonstrate the potential of QCL-based imaging backscattering spectroscopy for the detection of trace amounts of hazardous substances in such scenarios.
Frank Fuchs, Stefan Hugger, Jan-Philip Jarvis, Marko Härtelt, Quankui K. Yang, Marcel Rattunde, Ralf Ostendorf, Christian Schilling, Rachid Driad, Rolf Aidam, and Joachim Wagner, "Hyperspectral imaging for standoff trace detection of explosives using quantum cascade lasers (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10111, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XIV, 101110A (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 29, 2017; Published: 28 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250006.5393916898001.
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