4 May 2009 Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for detection of ammonium nitrate in soils
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The extensive use of improvised explosive devices (IED) by irregular armed groups in Colombia has posed a threat, not only to the Colombian regular army but to the civilian population. It is expected that in future years, after an eventual cease fire, humanitarian missions for IED clearance will be fundamental to secure safe transit of people and goods, particularly in Colombian rural areas. The clandestine nature of IEDs preparation in Colombia yielded a rather diverse nature of these irregular weapons. Although, some have metal parts such as nails and shrapnel, others are metal-free devices in which detonation is obtained by chemical means. Despite this variability in IEDs design, one thing that is common in IEDs preparation is the use of significant amounts of ANFO (ammonium nitrate (AN), fuel oil (FO)) in their construction. The goal of this work was to identify AN and FO in soils using LIBS. Experiments showed the ability of LIBS to identify the presence of AN based on Hα (656.3 nm) and Hβ (486.1 nm) emission lines. It was not possible to identify FO mixed with soils in the spectral windows studied. FO caused a reduction on spark intensity on the samples. This would represent a challenge for identification of chemical compounds in wet soils. Potential interferences with fertilizers are discussed as well.
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Daniel Díaz, Daniel Díaz, David W. Hahn, David W. Hahn, Alejandro Molina, Alejandro Molina, } "Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for detection of ammonium nitrate in soils", Proc. SPIE 7303, Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XIV, 73031E (4 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818391; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.818391

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