20 May 2015 New possibilities to analyse non-standard explosives and post blast residues in forensic practice
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Nonstandard and home-made explosives always pose a considerable threat for security forces in terms of their practically unlimited variability, both in composition and in construction of explosive devises. Electron microscopy – SEM with EDS/WDS is one of the key techniques for an analysis of non-standard explosives and post-blast residues. If the amount of materials allows it, a number of other analytical techniques are utilized, such as XRD that is capable of a direct phase identification of a crystalline substance, namely in mixtures. TLC has constantly proved itself useful for laboratory screening. Furthermore, combinations of FTIR, Raman spectrometry, LC MS, GC MS, XRF, micro XRF and other ones are applied. In the case of identification of post-blast residues, where an investigation is often conducted at the level of separate microscopic particles, the role of SEM is unsubstitutable, whereas the analysis of the organic phase from these often sporadic microparticles has been infeasible until recently. One of the very interesting options appears to be Raman spectrometry technique, which is nowadays obtainable as a supplement to SEM EDX. Newly available is the device that is fully confocal, SEM keeps full functionality and scan range, very high resolution (for green laser resolution 360nm FWHM; 430nm Rayleigh), it is fitted with high quality objective lens, enhances mapping through Raman spectrometry in a volume 250μm x 250μm x 250μm by piezo driven scanner (capacitive feedback linearized) and obtaining a high quality white light image (250μm x 250μm) immediately in the SEM chamber. This technique is currently undergoing intensive testing and it seems that the method could significantly help to address issues with the analysis of organic phases in electron microscopy not only in the case of post-blast residues and explosives.
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Marek Kotrlý, Marek Kotrlý, Ivana Turková, Ivana Turková, } "New possibilities to analyse non-standard explosives and post blast residues in forensic practice", Proc. SPIE 9486, Advanced Environmental, Chemical, and Biological Sensing Technologies XII, 948614 (20 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2183849; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2183849

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