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10 June 2014 Improving sensitivity and source attribution of homemade explosives with low-frequency/THz-Raman spectroscopy
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Rapid identification and source attribution of homemade explosives (HMEs) is vital to national defense and homeland security efforts. Since HMEs can be prepared in a variety of methods with different component ingredients, telltale traces can be left behind in the final structural form of the material. These differences manifest as polymorphs, isomers, conformers or even contaminants that can all impact the low energy vibrational modes of the molecule. Conventional Raman spectroscopy systems confine their measurements to the “chemical fingerprint” region and are unable to detect low frequency Raman signals (<200cm-1) where these low energy modes are found. This gap in sensitivity limits the conclusions that can be drawn from a single Raman measurement and creates the need for multiple measurement techniques to confirm any results. We present results from a new rugged, portable approach that is capable of extending the range of Raman to include these low frequency signals down to ~5cm-1, plus complementary anti-Stokes spectra, with measurement times on the order of seconds. We demonstrate the diversity of signals that lie in this region that directly correlate to the molecular structure of the material, resulting in a new Raman “structural fingerprint” region. By correlating the measured results with known samples from a spectral library, rapid identification of the specific method of manufacture can be made.
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James T. A. Carriere, Frank Havermeyer, and Randy A. Heyler "Improving sensitivity and source attribution of homemade explosives with low-frequency/THz-Raman spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 9073, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XV, 90730K (10 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2053461;

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