The following paper presents a realistic forensic capability test of an imaging Raman spectroscopy based demonstrator system, developed at FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency. The system uses a 532 nm laser to irradiate a surface of 25×25mm. The backscattered radiation from the surface is collected by an 8” telescope with subsequent optical system, and is finally imaged onto an ICCD camera. We present here an explosives trace analysis study of samples collected from a realistic scenario after a detonation. A left-behind 5 kg IED, based on ammonium nitrate with a TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) booster, was detonated in a plastic garbage bin. Aluminum sample plates were mounted vertically on a holder approximately 6 m from the point of detonation. Minutes after the detonation, the samples were analyzed with stand-off imaging Raman spectroscopy from a distance of 10 m. Trace amounts could be detected from the secondary explosive (ammonium nitrate with an analysis time of 1 min. Measurement results also indicated detection of residues from the booster (TNT). The sample plates were subsequently swabbed and analyzed with HPLC and GC-MS analyses to confirm the results from the stand-off imaging Raman system. The presented findings indicate that it is possible to determine the type of explosive used in an IED from a distance, within minutes after the attack, and without tampering with physical evidence at the crime scene.
Standoff Raman imaging systems have shown the ability to detect single explosives particles. However, in many cases, the laser intensities needed restrict the applications where they can be safely used. A new generation imaging Raman system has been developed based on a 355 nm UV laser that, in addition to eye safety, allows discrete and invisible measurements. Non-dangerous exposure levels for the eye are several orders of magnitude higher in UVA than in the visible range that previously has been used. The UV Raman system has been built based on an UV Fabry-Perot Interferometer (UV-FPI) developed by VTT. The design allows for precise selection of Raman shifts in combination with high out-of-band blocking. The stable operation of the UV-FPI module under varying environmental conditions is arranged by controlling the temperature of the module and using a closed loop control of the FPI air gap based on capacitive measurement. The system presented consists of a 3rd harmonics Nd:YAG laser with 1.5 W average output at 1000 Hz, a 200 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, UV-FPI filter and an ICCD camera for signal gating and detection. The design principal leads to a Raman spectrum in each image pixel. The system is designed for field use and easy manoeuvring. Preliminary results show that in measurements of <60 s on 10 m distance, single AN particles of <300 μm diameter can be identified.