5 Common Technologies Used in Explosive Detection Systems

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An explosives trace detector is a type of equipment, which can detect explosives whether they are of big or small magnitude. Experts use a sampling method in the explosive detection job. They carry out sampling tasks of non-visible trace amounts of particulates. Such a device is made using technologies. Here are some common technologies used in the making of explosive detection systems: 

1. Colorimetrics

It is one of the simplest, most extensive and oldest technologies used to detect explosives. This kit relies on the application of a chemical reagent to an unfamiliar sample or material to observe a colour reaction. Having a close watch on colour reactions, the experts can confirm the presence of explosives at a particular place, especially the one containing a material. Explosive detectors using this technique can detect:

  • Nitroaromatic explosives
  • Nitrate ester and nitramine explosives
  • Improvised explosives are inorganic nitrate-based explosives, peroxide-based explosives, and chlorate-based explosives

2. Chemiluminescence 

It works on the luminescence of particular compounds when they are in contact with explosive particles. This technology is widely used in non-electronic equipment like test papers and sprays. Due to nanograms, the sensitivity level is low. 

3. Thermo redox 

Based on the decomposition of explosive particles, it follows the reduction of nitro groups. A maximum number of military-grade explosives contain enough NO2 and are nitro compounds. In the technique, there is a pulling of explosive vapours into an adsorber at a higher rate. After that, pyrolyzation takes place in the detection job due to the presence of nitro groups. 

4. Ion mobility spectrometry 

The use of IMS (ion mobility spectrometry) in explosive detection depends on the velocity of ions in a uniform electric field. In the explosive markets, some variants of IMS like NLDM (Non-linear dependence on ion mobility) and ITMS (on trap mobility spectrometry) are available. The sensitivity of explosive detectors based on this technology links to pg levels. Further, this technology needs for the ionisation of explosive samples and is available in:

  • GE VaporTracer
  • Smith Sabre 4000
  • Russian built MO-2M and MO-8

5. Mass spectrometry 

In the last few years, it has emerged as a leading explosive trace detector technology. It can lower the rates of false alarms caused by higher resolution of the basic technology. This technology is used in both desktop and handheld explosive trace detection systems. 

Apart from the above, you may come across another technology used in explosive trace detectors – AFP (Amplifying fluorescent polymer). Based on synthesised polymers, it is a promising new technology.  

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