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21 September 2004 Active sampling technique to enhance chemical signature of buried explosives
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Abstract
Deminers and dismounted countermine engineers commonly use metal detectors, ground penetrating radar and probes to locate mines. Many modern landmines have a very low metal content, which severely limits the effectiveness of metal detectors. Canines have also been used for landmine detection for decades. Experiments have shown that canines smell the explosives which are known to leak from most types of landmines. The fact that dogs can detect landmines indicates that vapor sensing is a viable approach to landmine detection. Several groups are currently developing systems to detect landmines by “sniffing” for the ultra-trace explosive vapors above the soil. The amount of material that is available to passive vapor sensing systems is limited to no more than the vapor in equilibrium with the explosive related chemicals (ERCs) distributed in the surface soils over and near the landmine. The low equilibrium vapor pressure of TNT in the soil/atmosphere boundary layer and the limited volume of the boundary layer air imply that passive chemical vapor sensing systems require sensitivities in the picogram range, or lower. ADA is working to overcome many of the limitations of passive sampling methods, by the use of an active sampling method that employs a high-powered (1,200+ joules) strobe lamp to create a highly amplified plume of vapor and/or ERC-bearing fine particulates. Initial investigations have demonstrated that this approach can amplify the detectability of TNT by two or three orders of magnitude. This new active sampling technique could be used with any suitable explosive sensor.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John S. Lovell and Patrick D. French "Active sampling technique to enhance chemical signature of buried explosives", Proc. SPIE 5415, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets IX, (21 September 2004); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.542665
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